This study compared same- and cross-gender friendship conceptions and explored the cross-gender friendship experiences of 174 students in grades 3, 6, 9, and 12. Preliminary information about the nature and extent of cross-gender friendship experiences is presented. Variability in responses to questions about beliefs and expectations in both same- and cross-gender friendships was examined to investigate three theoretically derived hypotheses: (1) cross-gender and same-gender friendships are different types of personal relationships, (2) distinctions between same- and cross-gender conceptions vary across age, and (3) conceptions vary as a function of the friendships of girls versus the friendships of boys. The strongest support was obtained for the first hypothesis, although some support was obtained for the notion that friendships involving girls are viewed to differ stereotypically from friendships with boys. Finally, potential challenges and benefits that emerge in conceptions of cross-gender friendship are discussed.


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pp. 347-380
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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