Sex Roles

, Volume 29, Issue 7–8, pp 497–508 | Cite as

Gender differences in best friendships

  • Leigh E. Elkins
  • Christopher Peterson


Prior investigations of friendship patterns have reported gender differences, with women's same-gender friendships tending to be richer and having a possible therapeutic value, as compared to those of men. Compared to same-gender best friendships, opposite-gender best friendships have been described as less fulfilling for women and more fulfilling for men. The present study explored such differences more fully in a sample of 65 female and 58 male predominantly white college students. Subjects completed four modified versions of P. H. Wright's [(1985) “The Acquaintance Description Form,” In S. F. Duck and D. Pearlman (Eds.), Understanding Personal Relationships: An Interdisciplinarian Approach, London: Sage] Acquaintance Description Form, describing their actual and ideal same-gender best friendships and their actual and ideal opposite-gender best friendships. They also responded to several measures of dysphoria. In the present study, the lowest scores for the friendship scales were reported by male subjects describing same-gender friendships, both ideal and actual. For both male and female subjects, dysphoria was positively correlated with a discrepancy between ideal and actual friendships with same-gender or opposite-gender individuals.


Gender Difference College Student Social Psychology Lower Score Male Subject 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leigh E. Elkins
    • 1
  • Christopher Peterson
    • 2
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor

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