Study finds boys won’t be boys

By Shannon Keough
September 27, 2007

Mark Zirpoli/Photo Staff

Among the many differences boys and girls share, their view on relationships have also been different: girls want relationships, boys don’t.

However, in a recent study, it was found that boys in college are more likely than girls to pick an intimate relationship over a career.

Catherine Mosher, Duke University and Sharon Danoff-Burg, University of Albany, surveyed 237 undergraduate students for this study and the results were surprising.

But what do the results mean?

Dr. Melissa Terlecki, assistant professor of psychology, who teaches and studies gender, believes that it depends on what the words romantic or intimate mean to different people. For boys, it most likely means having sexual relations. For girls, however, it is associated more with love and marriage.

When a few Cabrini College males were interviewed, most of them said they believed that women were more likely to choose a relationship over their education and career.

Terlecki thinks that the results depend on the specific questions that were asked. If the questions were “forced choice,” pick romance or marriage, then she said the results aren’t shocking. Men are more likely to pick the choice with the least commitment.

Terlecki also said that the results might vary according to class.

Lowerclassmen are likely to shy away from relationships, whereas upperclassmen may lean toward a solid, intimate relationship.

Perry Papageorge, a freshman accounting major, said that girls are more likely to give up their career because guys aren’t interested in relationships in college, but girls are.

He also thinks that girls are better at juggling a relationship and education or career because they are more dedicated.

Josh DeCoste, a junior history and political science major, said he thinks girls are more likely to give up their career because men should be the “primary breadwinner of the family.”

An article written on by Jeanna Bryner on this study said that “men seem to derive more emotional support from their opposite-sex relationships than from same-sex pals.”

Terlecki agrees with this statement because men and women communicate differently with the same sex. Whereas women share every detail of their day with other women, men seem to just touch the surface with other men.

“It’s kind of a part of the male culture to hide feelings and portray a strong image,” Joe McGinnis, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, said.

Danielle Murphy, a junior psychology, sociology and religious studies major, said that she knows many girls who have followed their boyfriends to college and gave up their goals.

On the other hand, Laura Davis, a sophomore biology major, thinks that girls are more likely to choose careers.

“A lot of times girls are more motivated and that’s why they’re in college in the first place,” Davis said.

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Shannon Keough

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