DOI: 10.1111/cfs.13158 ISSN: 1356-7500

Conflicts with Friends and Romantic Partners: Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses of the Experiences of Girls in Care

Samantha Chan, Katherine Wincentak, Jennifer Connolly
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health (social science)


Conflicts are common in adolescent friendships and romantic relationships. The ways girls in care navigate conflicts in close relationships have implications for their resilience, since their family relationships are compromised. We employed qualitative and quantitative approaches to explore the conflicts in the friend and romantic relationships of 37 girls in care. They completed an interview about the conflicts with their best friend and boyfriend and a measure on the positive and negative quality of the friendship and romantic relationship within which the conflicts took place. Thematic analysis indicated the girls experienced more intense and volatile conflicts with their boyfriend than best friend. However, the intensity of these conflicts was mitigated by their positive perceptions in their quantitative reports. Despite conflicts, the girls reported significantly higher levels of positive than negative relationship quality within their romantic relationships and similar levels of negative quality between the two relationships. Findings highlight the girls' struggles with their romantic relationship compared to their friendship and especially their attempts to interpret conflict within a more global assessment of relationship quality. The findings provide a nuanced understanding of the girls' relational patterns, which can be used to inform interventions to support their development of healthy relationships.

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