, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 597-617

Adolescent Intimacy Revisited

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Abstract

Two studies examined intimacy in adolescent friendships. In the first, 7th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students completed a questionnaire assessing perceived friendship intimacy. Age and sex differences were identified in emotional closeness, self-disclosure, emphasis on individuality, control, and conformity. Across ages, emphasis on individuality increased, whereas control and conformity declined. There were no age differences in emotional closeness and self-disclosure. Females reported more emotional closeness and self-disclosure than males. In the second study, individual differences in friendship intimacy were examined in a sample of 9th-grade adolescents. A joint problem solving task identified interdependent and disengaged friends. Perceived intimacy among interdependent and disengaged friends was contrasted with that in a control group of subjects without friends. Adolescents with friends reported more closeness than those without friends. Interdependent friends reported greater levels of respect for individuality than disengaged friends. The results underscore the salience of intimacy for peer relationships during the adolescent years and suggest that intimacy may be an important construct distinguishing between different types of close friendships.