Girl Talk: Gossip, Friendship, and Sociometric Status
Abstract

This study examined the characteristics of gossip among fourth-grade girls and their close friends. Sixty friendship dyads were videotaped as they engaged in conversation, and their gossip was coded. Analyses revealed gossip to be a dominant feature of their interaction and that it was primarily neutral in valence. Sociometrically popular girls and their friends were observed to gossip more about peers, and their gossip was more evaluative than that between rejected girls and their friends. Gossip frequency and valence related to observed friendship closeness and friendship quality. Race differences in the characteristics of gossip were also explored. The study results are important in our efforts to develop a fuller understanding of the important interpersonal process of gossip and the functions that it serves in the context of close friendships.