Gender Beliefs and Quality of Friendships Amongst Adolescents in Urban India
Karla Herrera
Department of Applied Psychology, New York University
INTRODUCTION
FRIENDSHIPS
IN ADOLESCENCE
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
 As children enter adolescence, friendships form a core
component of their development (Way & Pahl, 2001; Way &
Greene, 2006).
 Delhi is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest
metropolis by population in India.
 Friendships are defined as intimate connections associated with
trust, help, companionship, closeness and security (Bukowski,
Hoza, & Bovin, 1994).
 Largest commercial center in northern India.
 Boys’ and girls’ quality of friendship is influenced by the prevailing
gender norms that exist in their culture (Brown & Gilligan, 1992;
Santos, 2010; Way, 2011).
GENDER NORMS
 Gender norms dictate the way individuals behave in their
relationships.
 Masculine norms, especially in patriarchal cultures, might prevent
young men and women from developing high quality friendships
particularly because these norms (such as autonomy) expect people
to disconnect from relationships in the first place (Way, 2011).
 Few researchers have examined quality of friendships across
different cultures (Hirsch & DuBois, 1990; Way & Greene, 2006).
 Population: more than 12.25 million inhabitants.
 The data for the present study were drawn from the first wave of a
longitudinal study (N = 255) conducted by Taveeshi Gupta and Dr.
Niobe Way in New Delhi, India.
Step 3
Masculine gender-typed behavior x
Type of Friends
Q3. Does having more friends of the
same gender moderate this
relation?
Name of Measure
Items
Reliability
Even when something in bothering me, it is
important to act like nothing is wrong
around my friends.
∝ = .73
Gupta et al., under review)
1 (Strongly agree) to 4 (Strongly disagree)
Networks of Relationship Inventory
∝ = .75
1 (Little or none) to 5 (The most)
“When you think of your friends, are there
more guys or girls?”
Gender of Friends
--
RQ 1: DESCRIPTIVE RESULTS
Boy
Girl
Mean Values
***
4
3
***
2
 that boys adhered to masculine gender-typed behaviors more so than did girls.
 With regards to friendship quality, children who adhered more strongly to gender-typed
masculine behaviors experienced lower friendship quality.
 These findings corroborate those of previous studies (Gupta et al., in press; Santos,
2010; Way, 2011) showing that adolescents who are raised to adhere to masculine
gender-typed behaviors not only experience negative friendship quality but also
report lower levels of quality of life (Way, 2011).
 Results of this study indicate that, despite globalization trends and the westernization of
India (especially in urban areas), traditional gender norms are still upheld and permeate
the relationships of the younger generation (Bhogle, 1999).
 Thus, the present study underscores the importance of international research as they
provide a more holistic picture of adolescent's social and emotional development. This is
particularly important in answering the call of the missing 95% in psychological research
(Arnett, 2008).
0
Gender-Typed Masculine Behaviors
Quality of Friendship
Figure 1. Means for Quality of Friendship and Gender-Typed Masculine Behaviors
 Boys adhered more strongly to gender-typed masculine behavior than did girls, t(249) =
4.706, p < .001)
QUALITY OF
FRIENDSHIP
 Like much of the previous literature (e.g., Way, 1995; Way & Greene, 2006), results of the
present study showed:
 Findings of this and other U.S. studies document the pervasive nature of the “connection
crisis” (Way, 2011) young men and women are experiencing across the world.
 Boys experienced lower quality of friendship than did girls, t(250) = -4.165, p < .001.
GENDER TYPED
MASCULINE
BEHAVIOR
DISCUSSION
 It is, thus, possible that societal masculine gender norms require both young men
and women to behave in ways that do not align with what individuals need to
develop closeness, security, and intimacy (Brown & Gilligan, 1992).
6
1
GENDER OF FRIENDS
.09
 that girls experienced higher levels of quality of friendship than did boys.
How much do you and your friend argue?
5
H3. Gender of friends will moderate the relation
between gender-typed masculine behavior and
quality of friendship, such that having more samesex friends will intensify the negative relation
between the two variables.
.08 (1, 197)
 Findings also indicated that there was no moderation effect of gender of friend on the
relation between gender-typed behaviors and quality of friendship.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS & HYPOTHESES
H2. Adhering to masculine gender-typed behaviors
will be associated with poor friendship quality.
.05
.00
 In July and August 2010, participants were asked, during school hours, to fill out a survey
regarding school life, friendships and home life.
 There are also marked socio-economic and caste differences in
how individuals relate to one another. The presence of a “peer
culture,” for instance, is more apparent among middle and
upper class Indian adolescents (Verma & Saraswathi, 2002).
Q2. What is the relation between
gender-typed beliefs and quality of
close friendship among urban
Indian adolescents?
.22
PROCEDURE AND MEAUSURES
(Furman & Buhrmester, 1985)
H1. Students from low SES families will adhere
strongly to gender-typed masculine behavior,
whereas students from high SES families will report
better friendship quality.
.010
 Results indicated that adhering to gender-typed masculine behaviors was associated with
poor quality of friendship.
Adherence to Gender-Typed Beliefs
in Relationships Scale (Santos, 2010;
H1. Boys will adhere more strongly to gendertyped masculine behavior, whereas girls will report
better friendship quality.
.1
Note: a Male is the reference group
***p < .001
 21.2% of the adolescents were from government-funded schools,
20.4% were from low SES private schools; 34.9% were from middle
SES schools, and the remaining 23.5% were from high SES schools.
 In India, there are explicit gender norms dictating appropriate
behaviors for boys and girls. Deviations from these norms are
not readily accepted. Very little is known about the ways in
which these gender norms might influence friendship quality
among adolescents.
Q1. Are there any significant gender
or social class differences in gendertyped beliefs or close friendship
quality?
Table 1. Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis for Variables Predicting Quality of Friendship
B
β
R2
∆R2
F (df1, df2)
Step 1
.08
17.0 (1,200)***
Gendera
.38***
.28
Step 2
.22
.14
18.2 (2, 198)***
Masculine Gender-Typed Behaviors -.58***
-.40
Type of friends
 46.7% of the participants were male, and participants had a mean
age of 11.86 (SD = .50).
 The current study explored the quality of friendship among
young adolescents in urban India.
INDIA
REGRESSION RESULTS
 No significant social class differences for gender-typed masculine behaviors or quality of
friendship were found.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
 I would like thank Taveeshi Gupta for guiding me through this process and helping me become a
“resistor.” I would also like to thank Dr. Niobe Way; her work has guided me and opened up my
eyes in more ways than I could ever imagine. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Gigliana
Melzi and Kristin Lees, for this project would not have been possible without their help and
support.
CONTACT INFORMATION
Karla Herrera: [email protected]
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Gender Beliefs and Quality of Friendships