The Friendship Dilemma: Competition and Emotional Isolation

Part of the Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective book series (CEGP)


Growing up in a world where survival of the fittest is perceived to be the rule of the game and peers are portrayed as rivals, how do young people build intimate relationships such as friendship? How do they perceive and negotiate the potential tension between the pressure to compete individualistically and the need to be engaged in friendships based on trust and mutual support? In this chapter, I draw on empirical data to demonstrate how academic competition in Chinese schools affects adolescents’ understanding and experience of close friendships, and how it may put youth at risk for adverse social, cognitive, and emotional outcomes.


Academic Performance True Reason Young Adolescent Good Friend Chinese Adolescent 
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© Xu Zhao 2015

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  • Xu Zhao

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