Healthy settings for young people in Canada – Pro-social attitudes of friends
Pro-Social Attitudes of Friends
It is apparent that there are significant gender differences in friends' positive, pro-social attitudes (Figure 2.38). More girls than boys in Grades 9 and 10 report that their friends like school and think having good marks is important; however, fewer than 25% of students overall have friends who like school. In contrast, more boys than girls report that their friends get along with their parents.
The peer context
Generally speaking, young people are more comfortable having friends of the same sex than of the opposite sex, and girls are more comfortable than boys in talking to same-sex friends about things that really bother them. By Grade 10, the proportion of students who report having three or more close same-sex friends decreases, but, also by Grade 10, young people become more comfortable talking to their opposite-sex friends about things that really bother them.
The number of days per week spent with friends right after school as well as the number of evenings per week spent with friends decreases significantly for boys and girls between Grades 8 and 10. This downward trend is noticeable over the five survey years.
The pro-social attitudes of friends scale was based on responses to the three statements: My friends like school; My friends think good marks are important; My friends get along with their parents.
Measures used in this report
A communication with friends scale was developed based on students’ reports of the extent to which they found it easy or difficult to talk to same-sex friends, opposite-sex friends, and a best friend about things that really bother them. Only those students with complete data for these three items were included.
A pro-social attitudes of friends scale was developed based on three survey questions, with a high score indicating higher proportion of friends with pro-social attitudes. Only those students with complete data for the three items were included.
Hartup, W. (1996). The company they keep: Friendships and their developmental significance. Child Development, 67(1):1-13.
Furman, W. (1999). Friends and lovers: The role of peer relationships in adolescent romantic relationships. In W.A. Collins and B. Laursen (eds.), Relationships as developmental contexts: The 30th Minnesota Symposium on Child Development, pp. 133-154. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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