Boys feel that discussing problems is a waste of time, a new research has found. Amanda J. Rose, associate professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, found that boys think talking about problems is not a useful activity.
"For years, popular psychologists have insisted that boys and men would like to talk about their problems but are held back by fears of embarrassment or appearing weak," said Amanda J. Rose, associate professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science.
"However, when we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn’t express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Instead, boys’ responses suggest that they just don’t see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity," she added.
Rose and her colleagues conducted four different studies that included surveys and observations of nearly 2,000 children and adolescents.
The researchers found that girls had positive expectations for how talking about problems would make them feel, such as expecting to feel cared for, understood and less alone.
On the other hand, boys did not endorse some negative expectations more than girls, such as expecting to feel embarrassed, worried about being teased, or bad about not taking care of the problems themselves. Instead, boys reported that talking about problems would make them feel "weird" and like they were "wasting time."
Rose believes that the findings may play into future romantic relationships, as many relationships involve a "pursuit-withdraw cycle" in which one partner (usually the woman) pursues talking about problems while the other (usually the man) withdraws.
The study will be published in will be published in the journal Child Development.