Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Mary Reilly


In an extension of a previous study (Wright & Scanlon, 1991), this study examined gender differences in cross-gender and same gender friendships among undergraduate students at a time when such friendships are just forming. Sixty-seven female, and seventy-three male undergraduate students (N = 140) described themselves and a close friend (target) of each gender on a Bern Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI). It was hypothesized that the participants would tend to form friendships with people of similar gender-role orientation. Chi-square analyses supported this hypothesis, Q < .005. Participants also described their relationship with each of these friends on an Acquaintance Description Form (ADF-F2). The ADF-F2 measures friendship strength and satisfaction on each of 14 variables. It was hypothesized that gender differences would be significant in the college sample on measures thought to be important to this population: exclusivity, social regulation, security, and two measures of maintenance difficulty. Significant gender differences were found for 11 of the 14 ADF-F2 variables, Q < .004. Men felt more exclusive about their friendships than women did, and found their friendships more difficult to maintain, and regulated by social forces. Women felt more secure in their friendships than men did, they found their friendships more supportive, stimulating and self-affirming than men did. Both men and women preferred female friends to male friends on six of the ADF-F2 variables, Q < .004. Male friends were not preferred on any of the variables.



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