Friendships and romantic relationships of black and white adolescents

Maria E. Pagano*, Barton J. Hirsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Prior research on adolescent peer relationships has focused on interpersonal dimensions of friendships but not of romantic relationships, and has rarely examined minority groups. We used a random sample of 122 adolescents to examine race and gender differences in friendships, romantic relationships, and the congruence between closest friendship and romantic relationship on five interpersonal domains: mutual support, self-disclosure, hurtful conflict, fear of betrayal, and interpersonal sensitivity. Significant race by gender differences in the difference between relationship type for both positive and negative dimensions of relationships were found. White girls reported significantly higher levels of self-disclosure in their friendship ties in comparison to romantic relationship, whereas white boys reported nearly equivalent levels. In comparison to white adolescents, Black adolescent girls and boys had similar levels of self-disclosure in their romantic relationships as their same-sex friendships. With regards to negative elements of relationships, girls reported more hurtful conflict in romance than friendship, whereas boys reported an opposite pattern. Results highlight the importance of consideration of race and gender influences on youth interpersonal skills within peer and romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Adolescents
  • Friendship
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Romance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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