An exploratory analysis of sex differences in gossip


This study examined sex differences in the quantity, targets, tone, and topics of gossip in the conversations of 76 male and 120 female college students. Contrary to popular beliefs, results indicated that the gossip of men and women contained similarities as well as differences. The data revealed that women spent more time gossiping than men and that women were much more likely than men to gossip about close friends and family members. However, no significant sex differences were uncovered regarding the derogatory tone of gossip and men and women were found to gossip about many of the same topics.

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Additional information

We are grateful to Karl Seman, Marilla Ross, Robin Ansher, and Jack Schmaly, who served as observers during the data-collection phase of the study, and to Richard Weiner, who conducted the statistical analysis. We also gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by Ralph L. Rosnow.

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Levin, J., Arluke, A. An exploratory analysis of sex differences in gossip. Sex Roles 12, 281–286 (1985).

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  • Family Member
  • College Student
  • Social Psychology
  • Exploratory Analysis
  • Close Friend