The College of The Bahamas
Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work
Can men and women be friends?
Evaluating the nature of same sex and cross sex friendships in adulthood. In partial fulfillment of the course requirements for Psychology 425
Name: R****** Forbes
Date: Thursday November 28, 2013.
This study evaluates the same-sex and cross-sex friendships in adulthood. The research explores the formation of friendships in childhood through to adulthood. Then dissects intimacy and other factors that contribute to same-sex and cross-sex friendships. The original hypothesis is challenged that women and men cannot be “just friends”. The extensive research done provides the ultimate conclusion that cross-sex friendships can be formed and long-lasting however, there are terms that applies to understanding cross-sex friendship The definition of friendships has seemingly evolved over time. Indicating what factors constitutes friendship may be a difficult task to expose as each person is different, however a study conducted by Rebecca Adams, Rosemary Blieszner and Brian De Vries combines age, gender and study location effects to reveal the definitions of friendship . The focus of the article was placed on examining the variations of friendship to conclude a definition. Authors closely examined frequent use of what was considered to be emerging and developed characteristics of friendship. The mechanisms used to conduct the study were two groups, taken from North American cities. The first city uses 28 women and 25 men of ages 55-87 and the second city uses 39 women and 25 men ages 55 to 87, as the subjects for testing. The study examined the subjects’ responses to the believed elements of friendship, which were, Behavioral Process (Self-disclosure, sociability, assistance, shared activities), Cognitive processes (loyalty, trust shared interests , acceptance, empathy, appreciation), Affective processes (compatibility, care), Structural Characteristics (solidarity, homogeneity), and proxy measures of process (frequency of contact, length of acquaintance and duration of contacts). The results indicated that the 117 subjects named at least three specific characteristics of friendship, with 76.9% naming at least one behavioral process, 70.1% naming one cognitive process, 40.2% naming one affective process, 29.9% naming one structural characteristic and 23.9% naming one proxy process. CITATION Ada00 \l 1033 (Adams, 2000). The variance results among age, gender, and study location show that gender and study location affected the total number of friendship characteristics that the subjects named. The study shows that women named more affective process as opposed to the men who named more proxy processes. Authors concluded that behavioral aspect of friendship over the other characteristics is key to determining the relationship. The study in my opinion is ethnically biased as the majority of subjects were Caucasian for the first city (77%) and the majority of subjects were British for the second city (61%). As well as for both test cities, the female to male ratio poses an issue for precise results as more women were tested than men. However, the study has merit and is very useful to uncovering the basis of cross-sex and same-sex friendships. The study basically concluded that behavioral aspects were key to friendships. Though the article tested subjects considered to be in “third age”, these aspects can be applied to uncovering friendships in children and adolescence. Finding a friend as a child may be as simple as liking the same playing instrument, or even having matching “Sippy-cups”. Although easy, the friendships between children are limited to gender. As children, males and females are taught what toys to play with, what actions are acceptable (gender-wise), and ultimately who to be friends with. These actions are referred to as sex segregation. Research conducted by Clare Mehta and Jonell...
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