Friendship, real-ideal discrepancies, and well-being: Gender differences in college students

Melikşah Demir, Haley Orthel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Do men and women have different ideals for their friendships? What do men and women experience when their actual friendship experiences fall short of their ideals? The authors of the current study investigated gender differences in real-ideal same-sex best friendships and friendship discrepancy scores. Correlates of friendship discrepancies were also examined. For this purpose, a sample of 382 college students completed the McGill Friendship Questionnaire (M. J. Mendelson & F. E. Aboud, 1999), the Friendship Conflict Scale (M. Demir & L. A. Weitekamp, 2007), the Need Satisfaction Scale (J. G. La Guardia, R. M. Ryan, C. E. Couchman, & E. L. Deci, 2000), and the PANAS (D. Watson, L. A. Clark, & A. Tellegen, 1988). Results showed that (a) the real and ideal best friendships of women were higher in quality and lower in conflict when compared to those of men; and (b) men's discrepancy scores for friendship quality were significantly higher when compared to women, whereas no differences were obtained on friendship conflict discrepancy scores. Findings also revealed that for both women and men, discrepancy scores were negatively related to friendship satisfaction, happiness, and satisfaction of basic psychological needs. The authors discuss the findings in light of theory, highlight ways to address relationship discrepancies, and make suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-193
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • friendship
  • happiness
  • ideal friendships
  • psychological needs satisfaction
  • real-ideal discrepancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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