Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
This study examined the association between friendship features (i.e., support and resources, trust, similarity, common experiences, commitment, intimate communication, balance of costs and rewards, personal characteristics and behaviors, length of friendship, amount of time spent with friend, closeness of the friendship, and expected ease of finding a new friend) and friendship outcomes (maintenance vs. dissolution and overall quality) following college students' problems with their pre-college and college friends. Reported causes of college students' pre-college and college friendship problems and friendship dissolution were examined. In addition, links between experiencing problems with friends and adjustment were explored. Friendship features and problems were assessed through several written questionnaires. Pre-college friendships were more susceptible to problems and dissolution than were college friendships. Expected ease of finding a new friend predicted friendship quality, maintenance, and dissolution for pre-college and college friends. Commitment and length of friendship predicted friendship quality for both types of friends, and the balance of costs and rewards predicted outcomes for college friends. College students did not identify the same causes of friendship problems and endings; a lack of common experiences was most likely to be mentioned as causing actual friendship dissolution but unlikely to be identified as causing friendship problems. When asked to indicate how often various specific events contributed to friendship problems and dissolution, students indicated that many events were more frequent and more important in their pre-college friendships. Students who indicated that they frequently experienced many problems with their friends also reported higher levels of loneliness and homesickness and lower levels of social support. Links between adjustment measures and frequency of specific types of friendship problems were identified. For example, students who frequently had problems associated with similarity reported using alcohol infrequently and had relatively high grade point averages. Results generally suggest that college students' friendship outcomes are similar to outcomes of other types of relationships. Implications for college personnel are discussed.
Owens, Rebecca A., "Friendship features associated with college students' friendship maintenance and dissolution following problems" (2003). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 1832.