Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

JoNell Strough


The purpose of the present study was to examine boys' and girls' endorsement of communal and agentic conflict-management strategies in three types of relationships: same-sex friends, other-sex friends, and romantic relationships. Relationship type was examined as a moderator of gender differences and similarities in strategies. Also, the role of gender-typed personality traits (expressive, instrumental) was examined as a covariate to investigate whether gender differences in conflict-management strategies reflect personality traits.;Participants (N = 108; 49 boys; 59 girls) were adolescents aged 14-17 years (M age = 15.79 years, SD = 1.07). Participants were asked to complete the Peer Conflict Questionnaire to rate the degree to which they endorsed communal and agentic strategies for managing conflict. As the current study used a within-subject design, all participants responded to the following three components of the strategy assessment: strategy endorsement with a same-sex friend, strategy endorsement with an other-sex friend, and strategy endorsement with a romantic partner. After completing the strategy assessment, participants completed the gender-typed personality traits assessment. Gender-typed personality traits were assessed via the 24-item Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ; Spence & Helmreich, 1978; see Appendix A section 3). Participants rated eight instrumental traits (e.g., 1, not at all aggressive vs. 5, very aggressive) and eight expressive or feminine traits (e.g., 1, not at all emotional vs. 5, very emotional) on a 1 to 5-point numerical scale. Participants also reported demographic information.;Results showed that gender, relationship type, and gender-typed personality traits were associated with adolescents' strategies for managing peer conflict. Specifically, compared to boys, girls were more likely to endorse both communal and agentic strategies. Also, both communal and agentic strategies were endorsed less in romantic relationships than in friendships. Further, for agentic strategies, when instrumental traits were covaried, the main effect of relationship type was no longer significant.;Results are discussed in relation to contextual approaches to interpersonal problem solving (see Berg & Strough, in press) and the gender similarity hypothesis suggesting boys and girls are more similar than they are different (see Hyde, 2005).