, Volume 12, Issue 1-2, pp 63-74

Same- and cross-sex friendships and the psychology of homosociality

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The present study investigated the homosocial preferences and the functions, formation, and maintenance characteristics of same- and cross-sex friendships for a sample of 90 young adults, ages 20 to 28 years. Single women and married participants of both sexes evidenced a definite preference for same-sex friendships. The expectations associated with same-sex friendship functioning were found to be similar for both sexes. Cross-sex friendships were reported by both women and men as providing less help and loyalty than same-sex relationships. Otherwise, cross-sex friendship functioning was described by men as closely resembling same-sex friendships, but women reported cross-sex relations as providing less acceptance, less intimacy, and more companionship than same-sex ones. Friendship formation and maintenance for same- and cross-sex friendships were also found to differ significantly. The results are discussed in terms of Lipman-Blumen's [In M. Blaxall & B. Reagan (Eds.), Women and the workplace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976, pp. 15–32] theory of homosociality.

This article is based on a paper presented at the American Psychological Association, 88th Annual Convention, Montreal, Canada, September 1980.