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This is the first study to examine the independent, simultaneous, and relative roles of several factors—sex, relationship commitment, perceptions of the benefits vs. costs of cross-sex (vs. same-sex) friendships, gender role orientation, and sexism—in the number of cross-sex (vs. same-sex) friendships people have. The latter four constructs were independently found to predict participants’ proportions of cross-sex friendships. Furthermore, a model comprised of all five factors provided a very good fit to the data, explaining 35% of the variability in the degree to which the participants possessed cross-sex friendships. Perceptions regarding the general benefits of both same- and cross-sex friendships and cross-gender role orientation continued to explain proportion of cross-sex friendship when the other factors were controlled.
Cross-sex Friendships: Who has More?
Alison P. Lenton & Laura Webber
Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006
Abstract This is the first study to examine the indepen-
dent, simultaneous, and relative roles of several factors
sex, relationship commitment, perceptions of the benefits
vs. costs of cross-sex (vs. same-sex) friendships, gender
role orientation, and sexismin the number of cross-sex
(vs. same-sex) friendships people have. The latter four
constructs were independently found to predict participants
proportions of cross-sex friendships. Furthermore, a model
comprised of all five factors provided a very good fit to the
data, explaining 35% of the variability in the degree to
which the participants possessed cross-sex friendships.
Perceptions regarding the general benefits of both same-
and cross-sex friendships and cross-gender role orientation
continued to explain proportion of cross-sex friendship
when the other factors were controlled.
Keywords Cross-sex friendship
Gender role orientation
Relationship commitment
Benefits vs. costs
People typically have more same-sex than cross-sex friend-
ships (Booth & Hess, 1974; Rose, 1985). Rawlins (1982)
suggested that men and women form more same-sex
friendships because societally normative relationship mod-
els prescribe that men and women should become paired
only for romantic relationships. However, Gottman (1994)
argued that it simply reflects different interaction styles
between the sexes. For many decades, researchers viewed
cross-sex friendships (CSFs) as nothing more than potential
romantic relationships (Bleske-Rechek & Buss, 2001). For
this reason, as well as the predominance of same-sex
friendships (SSFs) in peoples live s, the study of platonic
CSFs was long neglected. CSFs are seen now, however, as
distinct from romantic relationships because, like SSFs, they
are platonic (Rubin, 1985), non-exclusive, and generally not
ruled by passion (Sternberg, 1986). But CSFs are also
distinct from SSFs because they are qualitatively different
in several respects (Monsour, 2002; Werking, 1997). For
example, there are at least four unique challenges faced by
individuals in CSFs: defining the relationship, managing
sexual attraction, establishing equality, and managing the
interference of others (OMeara, 1989).
Clearly, the study of CSFs has grown in recent years.
Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about which
personal characteristics predispose people to acquire and
maintain cross-sex friendships. To date, research in this area
has focused primarily on the examination of a single
explanatory factor or the independent contributions of just
a few facto rs (e.g., age, marital status, gender roles; Adams,
1985; Booth & Hess, 1974; Reeder, 2003 ; Rose, 1985).
Furthermore, researchers have typically operationalized
cross-sex friendship possession in a dichotomous manner
(participant has vs. doesnt have), and, as a result, we still
know little about factors that predict variation within those
who do possess cross-sex friendships (but see Reeder,
2003). This study thus extends the previous research as it is
the first to examine the independent, simultaneous, and
relative roles of several factorssex, relationship com-
Sex Roles
DOI 10.1007/s11199-006-9048-5
The Preliminary Study that preceded the research described herein
was the foundation of Laura Webbers undergraduate thesis, for which
Alison P. Lenton served as supervisor (when the latter was affiliated
with the University of Cambridge).
A. P. Lenton (*)
Department of Psychology,
University of Edinburgh,
7 George Square,
Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK
L. Webber
University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, UK
mitment, perceptions of the benefits vs. costs of cross-sex
(vs. same-sex) friendships, gender role orientation, and
sexismin the number of cross-sex (vs. same-sex) friend-
ships people have. We focused on these particular con-
structs for three reasons: (1) to gain a better understanding
of how personal predispositions, as opposed to physical
setting or social forces (OMeara, 1994), influence individ-
uals proportions of CSFs; (2) to tease apart which of these
factors are the most meaningful predictors; and (3) to
provide the first direct investigations of the roles of sexism,
individual differences in the perceived benefits vs. costs of
CSFs and SSFs, and relationship commitment (vs. relation-
ship status) in the possession of CSFs. It is important to
improve our understanding of the personal factors associ -
ated with the possession of cross-sex friendships, as the
potential to form cross-sex friendships is an increasing
phenomenon (at least in Western cultures; Monsour, 2002),
and they are known to offer significant benefits to peoples
well-being across their live s (Monsour, 1997).
A number of studies indicate that sex predicts whether or not
a person will have cross-sex friendships (Booth & Hess,
1974; Reeder, 2003; Rose, 1985; Wright, 1989); men
typically report having m ore such friends hips. Among
university-aged persons (as is our sample), Rose found that
100% of the men and 73% of the women reported having at
least one close CSF. Notably, other research (Rubin, 1985)
revealed that as many as two-thirds of those women men call
close fri ends do not s hare thi s percepti on of the ir
relationship . Thus, whethe r or n ot sex is a cons isten t
predictor of CSF possession remains somewhat unclear.
Nevertheless, theories abound as to why men or women
might have more CSFs. For example, men are thought to be
more likely to have a cross-sex friend than women because
men (more than women) tend to view cross-sex friendship as
a gateway to a sexual and/or romantic relationship (Buhrke
& Fuqua, 1987), and they may benefit more than women
from this type of relationship (Bleske-Rechek & Buss,
2001). On the other hand, some research suggests that
women may be more likely than men to have a cross-sex
friend, as wom en are more likely than men to initiate the
formation of platonic CSFs (Buhrke & Fuqua). Accord-
ingly, some studies do show that women report more CSFs
than men do (Bell, 1981; Parker & DeVries, 1993).
Relationship Commitment
Bleske-Rechek and Buss ( 2001) found that single people
judged ro mant ic potential as an important reason for
initiating a CSF more so than did those who were already
in a romantic relationship. Also, single (vs. partnered)
people reported an increased desire to have a committed
romantic relationship with their CSF. Furthermore, 30% of
participants in OMearas(1994) study said that being
romantically involved with someone else is one reason not
to form or maintain CSFs and o ther research indicates that
married persons have traditionally been less likely than
single people to have CSFs (Booth & Hess, 1974; Rose,
acquisition strategy. Based on this framework, we expected
that increasing relationship commitment should be related
to decreasing numbers of CSFs (relative to SSFs).
Other researchers have suggested, however, that one
means by which to acquire cross-sex friends is via ones
sexualromantic partner (Fehr, 1996). If the majority of
mens and womens friends are same-sex prior to and
during young adulthood (Monsour, 2002), then participat-
ing in a heterosexual adult relationship should expose
people to more potential friends of the other sex. It is well
known that propinquity (e.g., Segal, 1974) and familiarity
(e.g., Zajonc, 1968) breed liking. According to this point of
view then, increasing relations hip commitment mayat
least initiallyfacilitate the procurement of cross-sex
friendships. Taken together, this research suggests that
there could be a non-linear relationship between relation-
ship commitment and cross-sex friendships, whereby low
commitment is associated with having more CSFs, but with
deepening commitment there is a plateau or actual
decrease in the number of CSFs. In the present study,
we used a continuous meas ure of relationship commitment
rather than the traditional dichotomization (i.e., single vs.
married) in order to assess this prediction and in order to
gain a more full understanding of why relationship status
plays a role in determining who becomes our friend.
Some research suggests that people avoid initiating cross-
sex friendships after marriage because of societal and
personal taboos about doing so (Werking, 1997) but, as
Monsour (2002) pointed out, little is known about why
romantic relationships appear to impact cross-sex friendship
Perceived Benefits vs. Costs of CSFs
Individuals may acquire and maintain CSFs because they
perceive the costbenefit ratio of this sort of relationship to
be at least as good (if not better) than that which could be
attained via SSFs. Thus, we proposed that individual
variability in the perceived benefits vs. costs of CSFs (vs.
SSFs) would predict participants proportions of CSFs (vs.
SSFs). What are the potential benefits and costs associated
with CSFs and SSFs? Solano (1986 ) suggested that
Sex Roles
friendship in general serves three valuable functions. First,
it meets our material needs by giving us help and support.
Second, frie nds meet our cognitive needs by supplying
stimulation by way of shared experiences, activities,
exchange of ideas, views, and gossip. Third, friends meet
socialemotional needs by providing love and esteem.
CSFs may have each of these benefits as well as benefits
that cannot be sought from SSFs. For example, CSFs may
increase an individuals understanding about the beliefs and
values of the other sex (C anary, Emmers-Sommers, &
Faulkner, 1997). Another potential benefit is that CSFs may
verify our attractiveness to the other sex (Rubin, 1985).
Bleske-Rechek and Buss (2000) cited a number of other
unique benefits such as protection, short-term sexual oppor-
tunity, self-expression, and intimacy (see also Monsour,
1992; Sapadin, 1988).
Both SSFs and CSFs have potential downsides as well.
For example, competition and envy are not uncommon in
SSFs (Werking, 1997), CSFs may cause problems for the
maintenance of an existing romantic relationship (OMeara,
1994), and women have reported feeling more patronized in
their CSFs than in their SSFs (Sapadin, 1988). Of course
this list of benefits and costs is not exhaustive, but it serves
to highlight that many factors may be considered by people
when they are forming same-sex or cross-sex friendships.
To the extent that individuals perceive the upsides of CSFs
to be higher and the downsides to be lower than in SSFs,
this should be reflected in their proportions of CSFs: More
positive attitudes toward CSFs more CSFs. To our
knowledge, individual differences in perceptions of the
relative costs vs. benefits of CSFs and SSFs have not yet
been examined by those who have investigated cross-sex
Gender Role Orientation
Recent research (Reeder, 2003) indicates that gender role is
predictive of proportion of cross-sex (vs. same-sex) friend-
ships, as participants tend to match their gender role
orientation to the sex of their friends. That is, feminine
individuals (both men and women) reported having more
female than male friends, and masculine individuals (both
men and wom en) reported having more male than female
friends. Other researchers, however, have found somewhat
different types of relationships between gender role and
number of CSFs (Jones, Bloys, & Wood, 1990; Monsour,
1988, as cited in Monsour, 2002). For example, Monsour
found that androgynous men, more so than gender-typed
indiv iduals and androgynous women, reported havi ng
more cross-sex friends, whereas Jones and colleagues
found that androgynous individuals tend to have more
male than female friends. Thus, the role of gender role
orientation in proportions of CSFs isnt entirely clear.
Perhaps by examining the separate and combined con-
tributions of continuously measured feminini ty and mas-
culinity (all of the researchers used the traditional
categorical assignmen ts, which are statistically far less
powerful; Judd & McClelland, 1989), as well as the
influence of gender role over and above the effects of other
associated predictors, we can gain a more comprehensible
perspective regarding how gender role relates to cross- vs.
same-sex friendship.
We are unaware of any research that has directly examined
the role of sexist attitudes in number of cross- vs. same-sex
friends, though there is reason to believe that sexism may
explain who has more CSFs. In particular, friendship is a
relationship of equals (Werking, 1997
), and it is based on
mutuality (McWilliams & Howard, 1993). Accordingly,
and as mentioned already, OMeara (1989) argued that one
of the challenges to the formation and continuation of
cross-sex friendships is the establishment of equality
between the individuals: Because men have traditionally
held more societal power than women, there may be an
inherent inequality in cross-sex friendships. Thus, indi-
viduals who believe that persons of the other sex are not
their equal should be less likely to form (platonic) cross-sex
friendships, whereas those who do not endorse sex-based
prejudice should be more likely to form (platonic) cross-sex
friendships. Finally, research regarding the relationship
between attitudes and behavior indicates that people spend
less time with people or things toward which they hold
negative attitudes (Fazio, 1990; Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, &
Williams, 1995). Thus, the present study may reveal a
relationship between sexist attitudes (toward the other sex)
and CSFs. To assess this prediction, we examined the role
of sexist attitudes by and toward both men and women in
cross-sex friendship possession.
Materials and Methods
One hundred and eighty-two individuals (93 women and 89
men) voluntarily participated in the present study. These
participants were recruited from the University of Edinburgh
community, and their average age was 22.73 years. The
sample was predominantly White (91.8%); the remainder
identified themselves as Asian (3.8%), Black (1.6%), or
other/mixed (2.7%). Nearly all participants (98.3%)
reported that they were heterosexual in orien tation.
Sex Roles
Various measures were developed for the purpos es of this
survey. The dependent variable measures are discussed
first. To measure participants current relative proportion of
CSFs vs. SSFs, three items were constructed. We utilized
multiple items rather than a single item, as doing so reduces
measurement error, thus maximizing the reliability of our
dependent variable (DV; Kerlinger & Lee, 2000 ). First,
participants were explicitly asked to estimate the percent age
of their current friendships that are malefemale. A second
item asked participants to write the initials of their five
closest friends and mark whether each was male or female.
Operationalization of this particular item involved calculat-
ing the proportion of their five friends who were of the
other sex (i.e., proport ion of male friends for female
participants, proportion of fema le friends for male partic-
ipants). The third item asked participants to circle on a scale
from 1 (none of my friendships are malefemale) to 7 (all
of my friendships are malefemale) the number that best
represents the extent to which their present friendships are
malefemale. The Cronbach s alpha coefficient for a scale
comprised of standardized scores on each of the three items
was sufficiently high (α=0.80); thus responses to them
were averaged to create a single DV.
As noted above, we were interested in the independent
and combined effects of five constructs on the relative
number of CSFs to SSFs. The measurement of each of
these predictors is described in turn. With respect to
participant sex, participants merely circled the label (male
or female) that described them. To measure relationship
commitment, participants were first asked to indicate (yes
or no) whether or not they were currently in a romantic/
sexual relationship. Thereafter, they responded to the 15-
item Decision/ Commitment subscale of Sternbergs(1997)
Triangular Love Scale (e.g., I value ___ greatly in my life;
This subscale assesses ones commitment to
persist in and further ones current roma ntic partnership. In
the presen t study, relationship commitment was operation-
alized such that participants received a score of 0 if they
were not currently involved with anyone; otherwise
participants were assigned their score on the Decision/
Commitment scale.
To measure perceptions of the perceived benefi ts vs.
costs of CSFs and SSFs, participants were given a list of 29
qualities found in our preliminary study to be associated
with SSFs, and a list of 3 5 q ualities found in our
preliminary study to be associated with CSFs. Notably, all
29 qualities associated with SSFs were also associated with
CSFs. Originally, the qualities were culled from the
literature on the basic features of SSFs and friendship in
general (e.g., potential benefits: companionship; potential
costs: envy) and of CSFs in particular (e.g., potential ben-
efits: learning about ones own sex a ppeal; potential costs:
interference with ongoing romantic relationship). See
Appendix for the complete list of qualities (note: this is
not intended to be an exhaustive list of qualities that may be
found in either CSFs and/or SSFs). Participants were asked
to rate each of the set of SSF traits wi th respect to whether
it was perceived to be a cost (1 on a 7-point Likert-type
scale) or a benefit (7 on a 7-point Likert-type scale) of this
type of friendship. Participants also rated each of the set of
CSF traits with respect to whether it was perceived to be a
cost (1 on a 7-point Likert-type scale ) or a benefit (7 on a 7-
point Likert-type scale) of this type of friendship. One-half
of the participants rated the SSF traits first, and the other
one-half rated the CSF traits first.
Operationalization of perceived benefits vs. costs then
followed from a two-stage principal components explorato-
ry factor analysis (EFA) on each set of ratings. The purpose
of the first EFA stage was to identify the number of factors
underlying the two sets of items (separately). Results
suggested that a two factor solution would be appropriate
for the SSFs ratings and a three factor solution would be
appropriate for the CSFs rati ngs, as the scree plots revealed
the distribution of eigenvalues to flatten out thereafter, and
initial inspection of the loadings suggested that the
theoretical interpretation of subsequent factors would be
difficult. A second EFA was then run for each set of
qualities, with two factors and three factors extracted using
varimax rotation for the SSF set and the CSF set,
respectively. Simple structure was largely achieved for
each of the two EFAs, as the items all loaded above |0.30|
on their respective factors and 100% of the SSF, and 80%
of the CSF items failed to load above |0.30| on the other
factors. For those cases where an item loaded above |0.30|
on more than one factor, we assigned that item to the factor
where it loaded highest and/or where it made more sense
theoretically. With respect to identification of the factors,
both SSFs and CSFs possessed general benefits (e.g.,
opportunity for self-expression, shared interests) and
general costs (e.g., potential to interfere with an ongoing
romantic relationship, competition). The third CSF factor
we called sexual excitement, as it comprised such items as
sexual tension and possibility for a sexual relationship
(see Appendix).
Five new variables were then created by averaging
participants idiosyncratic ratings of the benefits vs. costs
associated with the items relevant to each of the two SSF
and each of the three CSF factors. Thus, for General
The proportion of five friends item was arcsine-transformed before
it was standardized in order to normalize the distribution (Judd &
McClelland, 1989).
The scale alphas reported herein are those that were found in the
present study.
Sex Roles
Benefits SSFs, higher numbers reflect participants belief
that SSFs possess increasing benefits as a result of these
features. The same general interpretation applies to Gen-
eral Benefits CSFs. For General Costs SSFs, lower
numbers reflect participants belief that SSFs possess
increasing costs as a result of these features. The same
general interpretation applies to General Costs CSFs. For
Sexual Excitement CSFs, higher numbers reflect the
belief that CSFs possess benefits as a result of the sexual
tension contained in these relationships, whereas lower
numbers reflect the belief that CSFs possess costs as a
result of the sexual tension contained in these relationships.
Various other standard measures were also used in the
present study. Specifically, to assess participants gender
role orientation, we employed the Bem Sex Role Invento-
ry (BSRI; Bem, 1974). This scale contains 60 character-
istics, 20 of which are stereotypically feminine, 20 are
stereotypically masculine, and 20 are neutral or filler items.
Participants rated themselves with respect to each charac-
teristic on a Likert-type scale (1=never true; 7=always
true). For each participant we computed his or her
masculinity (α =0.86) and femininity (α=0.80) scores by
averaging responses across the items that make up those
two scales. To take advantage of the BSRIs traditional
operationalization of gender role (i.e. , four categories:
feminine, masculine, androgynous, undifferentiated) with-
out a loss of statistical power (see Judd & McClelland,
1989), we examined the interaction between femininity and
masculinity subscale scores.
The BSRI itself has been the subject of tremendous
criticism over the years. For examp le, some researchers
have not found the masculine and feminine scales to be
internally consistent, which has led them to question
whether the subscales are, in fact, assessing single
dimensions (Choi & Fuqua, 200 3 ; Collins, Waters, &
Waters, 1979; Feather, 1978). As noted above, however,
we found the two subscales to posses s more than adequate
internal consistency. Others have criticized the BSRI for
subscribing to rather old-fashioned notions of femininity
and masculinity, which are now out of date (Auster & Ohm,
2000). Because it remains the most widely used measure of
gender role orientation, however, we employed it in this
To ameliorate potential concerns about our use of the
BSRI, we also included a far newer measure of gender role
orientation: gender diagnosticity (Lippa & Connelly, 1990).
In brief, gender diagnosticity is founded upon the notion
that there are sex-based differences in vocational interests
(amo ng oth er interests). As such, researchers can use
vocational interests to measure individual differences in
masculinityfemininity (Lippa, 2005). According to Young
and Sweeting ( 2004), gender diagnosticity has a number of
advantages over the BSRI, including the fact that its
calculations are tailored to each sample, and, as a result, it
doesnt rely on static or old-fashioned notions about what is
masculine or feminine. And gender diagno sticity is more
closely related to peoples self-rated gender role orientation,
as well as to others ratings of their gender role orientation
(Lippa & Connelly).
To assess gender diagnosticity in the present study,
participants were presented with a list of 40 occupations (e.g.,
accountant, dance teacher, inventor, librarian). For each,
they indicated the extent to which they agreed (1=Strongly
disagree; 7=Strongly agree) that they would like to engage
in the given type of work (tota l scale α =0.89). Based on
participants responses to these 40 items, the probability
that the respondent is male or female was estimated.
recommendations (Lippa & Connelly), the operationaliza-
tion of gender diagnosticity was then conducted via a series
of probability estimations. In particular, the probability of
being male (1.0) or female (0.0) was determined four times
for each participant, once per 10-item set (sets randomly
determined). To create the final measure of ge nder
diagnosticity, the four probability ratings were averaged
(α=0.88 overall, α=0.73 for women, α =0.68 for men).
According to Lippa (1991; Lippa & Connelly), gender
diagnosticity is not correl ated with BSRI scores. Thus, to
the extent that we find any convergence of results in the
analyses of these two different measures, we can have
greater confidence in the results.
And finally, we measured participants sexis m toward
men and toward women, respectively, with Glick and
Fiskes(1999) Ambivalence Toward Men Inventory
(AS-M) and Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (AS-W; Glick
& Fiske, 1996). Each of these measures is comprised of two
subscales: One of the subscales contains items that assess
hostility toward or derogation of the target group (e.g.,
Men act like babies when they are sick,’‘Women seek to
gain powe r by getting control over men), whereas the other
subscale contains items that assess benevolence or pater-
nalism/maternalism toward the target group (e.g., Men are
more willing to take risks than women,’‘A good woman
should be set on a pedestal by her man ). Within both
measures (AS-M and AS-W), hostile and benevolent
sexism are correlated with one another such that increasing
hostility is generally associated with increasing benevo-
lence, which leads to the ambivalence. Furthermore, the
two measures (AS-M and AS-W) are related to one another:
Increasing ambivalence toward men predicts increasing
ambivalence toward women (Glick & Fiske, 1999). We
employed these particular measures of sexism because of
This is typically done with the use of discriminant analysis. In the
present study, however, we used logistic regression to derive the
probabilities, as this method generally results in the same conclusions
as discriminant analysis, it requires fewer assumptions and, thus, it is
more robust statistically (Press & Wilson, 1978).
Sex Roles
their comparability across participant sex and their demon-
strated validity (see Glick et al., 2000, 2004). The measures
alsowerefoundtoexhibitadequately high internal
consistency in the present study: hostile sexism toward
women (α =0.88), benevolent sexism toward women (α=
0.79), hostile sexism toward men (α =0.80), and benevolent
sexism (α=0.83) toward men.
Participants were given a survey packet, the cover page of
which provided the standard informed consent information.
When participants had given their consent, they turned to
the first page of the survey where they were provided a
definition of malefemale friendship, a label used in the
items that made up the primary dependent variable. In
particular, malefemale friendship was defined as friend-
ship be tw ee n a hete r ose xua l man a nd a he t ero sex ua l
woman (e.g., David and Sue are friends).
The participants responded to the various dependent
variable measures first and in the following order: (1) CSFs
percent estimation; (2) listing of friends sex; and (3)
proportion of CSFs rating. Next, participants responded to
the independent variable measures, with their order counter-
balanced across participants via a Latin Square design,
though participant sex and other demographics were always
assessed on the final page. Participants were thanked
following completion of the survey packet, and any
questions they had about the study were answered.
Outliers were detected via the analysis of Studentized
deleted residuals (SDR), Leverage values, and Cooks
distance, and then removed so that they would not have
undue effect on the magnitude of the examined relation-
If no mention of outliers is made for a given
analyses, it may be assumed that none were detected and
deleted. There were missing data for some of the analyses,
as not all participants responded to every part of the survey.
Thus, some of the statistical tests do not rely on the entire
sample. And finally, analyses of the independent effects of
each of the independent variables (IVs) include participant
sex as a covariate where it is correlated with that IV. This
was done in order that these variables independent effects
were neither obscured nor exaggerated by any relationship
they might have with participant sex.
Proportions of Cross-sex Friendships
On average, participants reported that nearly 42% of their
friendships were cross-sex, though the listing of their close
friends suggests that this estimate may be somewhat
inflated (M=30%). Participants rating of the proportion,
however, again confirmed that fewer than one-half of
participants friends were likely to be persons of the other
sex (M=3.60 on a scale from 17). These results replicate
the approximate proportions of CSFs to SSFs among young
adults today found by other researc hers (e.g., Reeder,
Participant Sex
A simple linear regression model (1 outlier deleted) wherein
CSFs was regressed on participant sex (men coded +1, wom-
en coded 1) was not statistically significant, t(166)=1.54,
p=0.13. This analysis revealed that women, on average,
reported having the s ame numbers of CSFs as men
Relationship Commitment
CSFs was regressed on participant sex (which was
correlated with relationship commitment), the linear effect
of relationship commitment, and the quadratic effect of
relationship comm itment (1 outlier deleted). This analysis
showed that, although the linear effect of relationship
commitment is not reliably relat ed to pa rticipants propor-
tion of cross-sex friendships, t(161)=1.07, p=0.29, the
quadratic effect appears to possess some relationship with
participants proportion of cross-sex friendships, t(161)=
1.69, p=0.09, pr=0.13. To determine the nature of this
effect, we performed a median split on the standardized
relationship commitment scores, then examined the rela-
tionship between relationship commitment and CSFs
(controlling for participant sex) separately for those low
revealed relationship commitment not to predict CSFs in
either case: t(84)=1.58, p=0.12, pr=0.17, for those low in
relationship commitment, and t(76)=0.85, p=0.40, pr=
0.10, for those high in relationship commitment. The
quadratic effect appears to stem from the different direc-
tions of these relationships. Among those low in relation-
ship commitment, increasing commitment is associated
with having somewhat more CSFs, whereas among those
high in relationship commitment, increasing commitment is
associated with having somewhat few er CSFs. The former
effect appears a bit stronger than the latter, perhaps because
our sample contained relatively few truly highly committed
individuals (i.e., the mean score was 3 on a scale that
ranged from 0 to 7; only 27% scored 5 or above), and thus
The criteria were as follows: if sdr > |2.5|, levers approached 1.0,
and/or Cooks d was unusual, the case was removed (see Judd &
McClelland, 1989).
Sex Roles
we examined relationship commitment within a restricted
range of values.
Perceived Benefits vs. Costs
A multiple linear regression model was employed to
examine the effects of perceived benefits vs. costs of CSFs
to SSFs in the proportion of CSFs. Because participant sex
was found to be predictive of two of the factors,
CSFs was
regressed on general benefits SSFs, general benefits CSFs,
general costs SSFs, general costs CSFs, and sexual
excitement CSFs, after controlling for participant sex (1
outlier deleted). The overall model was significant, F(6,
144)=4.90, p=0.001, R
=0.17, indicating that , generally,
the perceived benefits vs. costs of CSFs and SSFs play a
role in how many CSFs vs. SSFs people have. Examination
of the individual effects suggests that the perceived general
benefits of both SSFs, t(149)=2.86, p=0.01, pr=0.23,
and CSFs, t(149)=4.39, p=0.001, pr=0.34, are the primary
factors that contribute to the significance of the overall
model. The more participants perceive that SSFs posses s
generally positive features of friendshi p, the fewer CSFs
they have (regardless of their negative perceptions of SSFs
and perceptions of CSFs). And the more par ticipants
perceive that CSFs possess generally positive features of
friendship, the more CSFs they have (regardless of their
perceptions of SSFs and other perceptions of CSFs).
Gender Role Orientation
To assess the role of gender role orientation in the relative
proportion of CSFs, we ran tw o d ifferent regression
models: one assessing the role of gender role as measured
by the BSRI, and the other assessing the role of gender role
as measured via gender diagnosticity. To do the former, we
regressed CSFs on participant sex, BSRI masculinity score,
BSRI femininity score, the BSRI-masculinity×BSRI-femi-
ninity interaction, the participa nt sex×BSRI-masculinity
interaction, the participant sex×BSRI-femininity interac-
tion, and the three-way interaction between participant sex,
BSRI-masculinity, and BSRI-femininity (3 outliers delet-
ed). We adopted this approach rather than categorizing
individuals as masculine,’‘feminine,’‘androgynous, or
undifferentiated, as one loses power if one converts
continuous variables into categorical variables (Judd &
McClelland, 1989). Furthermore, the interacti on between
BSRI-masculinity and BSRI-femininity does allow us to
examine these traditional categorizations (e.g., whether the
effect of BSRI-femininity depends on whether one is high
or low in BSRI-masculinity). For example, if we were to
expect results similar to those found by Monsour (1988, as
cited in Monsour, 2002), whereby androgynous (high in
femininity and high in masculinity) men would have more
CSFs than would all others, we should find a participant
sex×BSRI-femininity×BSRI-masculinity interaction. In
addition to enabling us to conduct the traditional analyses,
this model also allows us to examine the independent
effects of stereotypical masculinity (after controlling for
stereotypical f emininity) and vice versa. Finally, we
included interactions with participant sex in the model, as
past research indicates that cross-gender role orientation
may be especially predictive of the acquirement and
possession of CSFs (Reeder, 2003) or that the effects of
gender role only apply to one sex (Monsour, 1988).
The entire model was statistically significant, F(7, 151)=
4.78, p=0.001, R
=0.18 (2 outliers deleted). Examination
of the independent effects revealed significant effects of
BSRI-masculinity, t(157)=2.41, p =0.02, pr=0.19, the
interaction between BSRI-masculinity and participant sex,
t(157)=3.15, p=0.002, pr=0.25, and the inter action
between BSRI-femininity and participant sex, t(157)=
2.52, p =0.013, pr=0.20. The main effect of BSRI-
masculinity indicates that, on average, increasingly mascu-
line participan ts have more CSFs than less masculine
participants do. This effect is qualified, however, by
participant sex. To understand the nature of this interaction
and the interaction between BSRI-femininity and partici-
pant sex, we regressed CSFs on BSRI-masculinity, BSRI-
femininity, and their interaction for male a nd female
participants separately. For fem ale participants, BSRI-
masculinity predicts CSFs, t(78)=4.61, p=0.001, pr=0.47,
whereas neither BSRI-femininity nor the interaction be-
tween the two scales were reliably predictive of CSFs,
ts 78ðÞ< 1:00
, ps>0.60. Thus among women, increasing
masculinity is associated with the possession of more CSFs,
whereas decreasing masculinity is associated with the
possession of fewer CSFs. For male participants, BSRI-
femininity predicts CSFs, t(76)=2.46, p=0.02, pr=0.28,
whereas neither BSRI-masculinity nor the interaction
between the two subscales were reliably predictive of
CSFs, ts 76ðÞ< 1:60
, ps>0.12. Thus among men, increas-
ing femininity is associated with the possession of more
CSFs, whereas decreasing femininity is associated with the
possession of fewer CSFs.
To corroborate those findings, we also examined the
relationship between gender role orientation and CSFs with
the gender diagnosticity measure. In parti cular, we
regressed CSFs on gender diagno sticity (coded in terms of
the probability of being male), participant sex, and the
interaction between gender diagnosticity and participant
sex. The overall model was significant, F(3, 158)=3.44, p=
0.02, R
=0.06 (2 outliers removed). Examination of the
Participant sex was significantly related to both general benefits of
SSFs and general benefits if CSFs. In both cases, male participants
had lower scores.
Sex Roles
independent effects revealed only the interaction to be
significant, t(160)=2.74, p=0.01, pr=0.21; the main
effect of gender diagnosticity was not significant, t(160)=
0.52, p=0.61. To understand the nature of the interaction,
we regressed gender diagnosticity on CSFs separately for
the male and female participants. For female participants,
increasing masculinity (decreasing femininity) is signifi-
cantly related to having more CSFs, t(79)=2.37, p=0.02,
pr=0.26. For male participants, increasing femininity
(decreasing masculinity) is related to having more CSFs,
though not significantly so, t(79)=1.53, p=0.13, pr=
0.17. Note that for the purposes of brevity, the inclusive
model reported below relies on the BSRI assessment of
gender role rather than the gender diagnosticity assessment
of such, as the BSRI appears to be a more powerful
predictor of CSFs (if we compare the coefficient of
determination associated with each model).
To examine the role of sexism in the possession of CSFs,
we ran two regressions: the first examined the relationship
between sexism toward women and CSFs, and the second
examined the relationship between sexism toward men and
CSFs. With respect to the former, CSFs was regressed on
participant sex, hostile and benevolent sexism toward
women, and the interactions between participant sex and each
sexism subscale. Glick and Fiske (1996) advised research-
ers to examine hostility and benevolence simultaneously,
as they are correlated with one another and, thus, to
examine the independent effects of one subscale, the other
should be controlled. The interaction terms are included in
order to assess whether sexism toward men might better
explain womens proportions of CSFs and vice versa. The
overall model was marginally significant, F(5, 158)=2.22,
p=0.06, R
=0.07 (1 outlier removed). Examination of the
individual effects of the predictors, however, revealed no
significant relationships between hostility toward women,
benevolence toward women, the interactions between
participant sex and these subscales and CSFs,
ts 162ðÞ< 1:50
, ps>0.15. Thus, sexism toward women
does not generally explain CSFs for women or men.
To assess the role of sexism toward men in explaining
CSFs, CSFs was regressed on participant sex, hostile and
benevolent sexism toward men, and the interactions
between participant sex and each sexism subscale. The
overall model was statistically significant, F(5, 160)=2.46,
p=0.04, R
=0.07 (1 outlier removed). Examination of the
individual effe cts of the predictor s revealed only a
marginally significant interaction between participant sex
and benevolence toward men, t(164)=1.76, p=0.08, pr=
0.14. None of the other predictors were reliably related to
CSFs, ts164ðÞ< 1:50
, ps>0.13. To assess the nature of
this interaction, we examined the relationship between
benevolence toward men (after controlling for hostility
toward men) for male and female participants separately.
For female participants, benevolent attitudes toward men
bears no relationship to their number of CSFs, t(81)=0.32,
p=0.75. For male participants, on the other hand, results
revealed a statistically significant relationship between
benevolent attitudes toward men and their number of
CSFs, t(81)=2.35, p=0.02, pr=0.25. Among men, in-
creasing benevolence toward men is associated with having
fewer CSFs, whereas decreasing benevolence toward men
is associated with having more CSFs.
Inclusive model
CSFs was regressed on all of the predictors descri bed
above for two purposes: (1) to assess the fit of our
overall model of proportion of CSFs; and (2) to examine
the extent to which the above-described effects stand
when all of the other IVs are controlled. For example,
does gender role orientation continue to predict propor-
tion of CSFs when perceived general benefits of SSFs
and CSFs are controlled? The overall model (2 outliers
deleted) was statistically significant, F (22, 123)=2.82, p=
0.001, R
=0.35. Together, the set of predictors accounted
for 35% of the variability in CSFs, which is a large effect
(Cohen, 1988), and thus provides evidence for the fit of the
Examination of the individual effects reveals that, over
and above the other predictors, participant sex remains
unrelated to CSFs, t(144)=0.89, p=0.37. And although the
quadratic (non-linea r) effect of relationship commitment is
now not significantly related to CSFs, t(144)=0.15, p=
0.88, the linear effect o f relationship commitment i s
marginally predictive of CSFs, t(144)=1.71, p=0.09, pr=
0.15. So, when we controlled for sample differences in
participant sex, gender role, sexism, and perceived benefits
vs. costs of CSFs, we found evidence for a simple linear
relationship between relationship commitment and CSFs,
such that increasing commitment is associated with having
more CSFs.
With respect to perceived benefits vs. costs, again, both
general benefits SSFs, t(144)=2.74, p=0.01, pr=0.24,
and general benefits CSFs, t(144)=2.86, p=0.01, pr=0.25,
remain related to CSFs. As before, participants who believe
that SSFs possess positive features of frie ndship, regardless
of their beliefs about CSFs, have fewer CSFs. Similarly,
participants who believe that CSFs possess positive features
of friendship, regardless of their beliefs about SSFs, have
more CSFs. As before, the perceived general costs
associated with SSFs and CSFs, as well as the perceived
sexual excitement associated with CSFs were not predictive
of CSFs, ts 144ðÞ< 1:50
, ps>0.15.
Sex Roles
The r esults concerning gender role again revealed
significant interactions between participant sex and each
BSRI-femininity and BSRI-masculinity, t(144)=2.44, p=
0.02, pr=0.22 and t(144)=2.96, p=0.004, pr=0.26,
respectively. None of the other predictors associated with
gender role were significantly related to CSFs,
ts 144ðÞ< 1:20
, ps>0.25. As before, to examine the nature
of these interactions we regressed CSFs on BSRI-masculin-
ity and BSRI-femininity for male and female participants
separately (after controlling for all of the other predictors,
save participant sex and terms containing this predictor). For
female participants, BSRI-masculinity predicts CSFs, t(74)=
2.97, p=0.004, pr=0.44, whereas BSRI-femininity was not
significantly related to CSFs, t(74)=1.03, p=0.31. Among
women, increasing masculinity is associated with the
possession of more CSFs, whereas decreasing masculinity
is associated with the possession of fewer CSFs. For male
participants, BSRI-femininity is a marginally significant
predictor of CSFs, t(68)=1.91, p=0.06, pr=0.31, whereas
BSRI-masculinity was not significantly related to CSFs,
t(68)=1.00, p=0.36. Among men, increasing femininity is
associated with the posses sion of more CSFs, whereas
decreasing femininity is associated with the possession of
fewer CSFs, even when participant differences in percep-
tions regarding the benefits and costs associated with CSFs,
sexism, and relationship commitment were controlled.
Lastly, hostile and benevolent sexism toward women,
hostile and benevolent sexism toward men, and the
interactions between each of these and participant sex all
failed to explain variation in CSFs over and above the other
predictors, all ts 44ðÞ< 1:50
, ps>0.20. Thus, when we
controlled for participant variation in gender role, percep-
tions of the benefits vs. costs of CSFs, and relationship
commitment, sexism appeared to play no role in determin-
ing the number of CSFs people have.
Our research demonstrates that relationship commitment,
perceived benefits vs. costs of CSFs (vs. SSFs), and gender
role orientation are each independently related to proportion
of CSFs. The results also indicate that mens positive
stereotyping of their own sexin the form of benevol ent
sexism toward menalso explains the number of CSFs (vs.
SSFs) they possess. Together, these constructs account for a
notable 35% of the variation in proportion of CSFs. Thus,
personal predispositions (vs. physical setting configuration
and social forces; OMeara, 1994) clearly provide a
powerful explanation of who has more CSFs.
Examination of the constructs when all of the other
factors were controlled reveals that most of these relation-
ships persist, which suggests they are not artifactual
products of their correlations with the other variables. In
the present study, sex was not found to be related to the
number of CSFs an individual has, whether sex was
examined independently or when sex differences in other
predictors of CSFs were controlled. As described in the
introduction, although much of the prior research appears to
indicate that men report more cross-sex friends than do
women (Booth & Hess, 1974; Reeder, 2003; Rose, 1985;
Wright, 1989), still other research suggests that women
possess more cross-sex friendships than do men (Bell,
1981; Parker & DeVries, 1993). Given that sex is strongly
correlated with other predictors of cross-sex friendship (e.g.,
in the present study, sex was related to gende r role,
relationship commitment, and the perceived benefits of
SSFs and CSFs), the different pattern of findings across
studies is likely to be the result of sample differences in
these predictors, and not the result of anything inherent to
biological sex. Thus, future researchers who study sex dif-
ferences in CSF possession must look to other constructs to
explain potential sex differences (Leaper, 1998).
With respect to relationship commitment, the indepen-
dent model suggested that there is a curvilinear relationship
between it and cross-sex friendship possession, such that no
or low commitment individuals tend to have more, whereas
individua ls with re latively higher commitment to their
relationships tend to have fewer. When we contro lled for
all of the other predictors, however, only a linear relation-
ship appeared to remain: Increasing relationship commit-
ment was associated with having more cross-sex friendships.
It is probably best not to overstate the generalizability of
these results becausein both casesthe effects were
marginal, and, as mentioned already, our sample was
predominantly comprised of young adults, who, on average,
possessed relatively low relationship commitment. In line
with Monsours(2002) call for researchers in this domain to
rely on more varied samp les than the traditional subject
pool, we also suggest that future researchers interested in
investigating the relationship between relationship commit-
ment and CSFs endeavo r t o o btain a sample with
participants who have deeper commitments to their part-
ners. At the same time, we encourage those researchers to
use a continuous measure of commitmentas we have
donein order to explore potential nonlinear trends in the
relationship between relationship commitment and CSFs.
The standard approachwherein researchers simply ex-
amine whether or not individuals are in a relationship
cannot capture the complexities of those relationships and,
further, cannot facilitate our understanding of why married
peopleon averagepossess fewer CSFs than single
people do.
The participant sex×gender diagnosticity interaction also remained
statistically significant even after we controlled for the other constructs
assessed in the present study, t(142) = 2.45, p =0.02,pr = 0.21.
Sex Roles
Both the independent and the inclusive models showed
that individuals who perceive that SSFs possess benefits,
over and above those of CSFs, are likely to have fewer cross-
sex friendships, whereas individuals who perceive that
CSFs possess benefits, over and above those of SSFs, are
likely to have more cross-sex friendships. Perceptions about
the downsides of either SSFs or CSFs or the costs vs. benefits
of sexual tension in these relationships were generally
unrelated to the number of cross-sex friends that participants
reported having. It would seem that it isnt that people avoid
cross-sex friendships because of their perceived downside,
but, rather, they are drawn to the types of friendship(s) where
they see particular benefits, whether those friendships be
same- or cross-sex. Perceived benefits vs. costs explained
approximately 17% of the variation in CSFs, which suggests
that such perceptions should not be ignored by researchers in
their attempts to account for why some people have more,
and others fewer, cross-sex friendships. Bec ause these data
are correlational, however, we are, of course, left with a
chicken vs. e gg scenario: Perhaps people with more CSFs
justify this situation by stating that their cross-sex friend-
ships are more beneficial, and people with more SSFs justify
this situation by stating that thei r same-sex friendships are
more beneficial. The fact that we asked participants to rate
the quality of cross-sex and same-sex friendships in general,
rather than to rate their own friendships, somewhat limits
the plausibility of this explanation. Still, other researchers
might examine perceptions of benefits vs. costs from a
developmental perspective in order to gain a more clear
understanding of the order of events.
According to both the independ ent and inclusive
analyses, individuals with increasingly cross-gender role
orientations possessed more cross-sex friendships, whereas
individuals who were less counter-stereotypical possessed
fewer cross-sex friendshi ps. This result was found with
both the Bem Sex Role Inventory and a much newer
measure, gender diagnosticity, which confirms the reliabil-
ity of the finding. These results are generally in line with
the results of Reeders(2003) study, which showed that
participants gender role orientation matched the sex of
their friends (i.e., masculine people had more male friends,
feminine people had more female friends), though in our
study neither womens femininity nor mens masc ulinity
could account for their proportion of CSFs vs. SSFs. Taken
together, the accum ulating body of evidence sugges ts that,
unlike the findings of Monsour (2002) and Jones et al.
(1990), psychological androgyny per se isnt special with
respect to cross-sex friendships. Instead, people who (claim
to) possess traits traditionally associated with the other sex
(i.e., high on cross-sex characteristics) tend to have more
cross-sex friends. Such a result is in accord with the well-
known finding that similarity facilitates friendship forma-
tion more general ly (Duck, 1973; Duck & Craig, 1978).
The results concerning sexism appear to suggest that it
does not play a particularly strong role in the determination
of who has more cross-sex friendships. Only in the
independent model did we find that benevolent sexism
toward men by men accounted for variation in the number of
cross-sex friends. In particular, men who ascribed to the
positive stereotypes of their own group reported more same-
sex friendships and, thus, fewer cross-sex friendships. This
finding is generally in accord with prior research that showed
that persons classified as conventional have fewer CSFs
than do persons classified as nonconventional (Bell, 1981),
though this particular finding was not restricted to men only.
When participant differences in gender role, relationship
commitment, sex, and the perceived benefits vs. costs of
CSFs and SSFs were controlled, the relationship between
mens benevolent sexism toward men and their number of
CSFs was reduced to non-significance, which suggests that
at least one of these other factors might explain the initial
relationship. Examination of the intercorrelations amongst
the factors suggests that the apparent relationship between
benevolence toward men (among men) and CSFs may be
due to the existence of a negative correlation between
benevolence toward men and BSRI-femininity, whereby
increasingly benevolent attitudes toward men is associated
with decreasing stereotypical femininity. Recall that stereo-
typical femininity among men explains their cross-sex
friendships. Notably, hostile sexism was found to be
unrelated to proportion of CSFs (when benevolent sexism
was controlled). Thus, participants with purely negative
attitudes toward the other sex do not necessarily have fewer
CSFs. Again, because this is correlational research it is
difficult to know whether (benevolent) sexist attitudes
influence the acquisition of CSFs or whether having CSFs
(for other reasons) influences benevolent sexist attitudes. An
alternative interpretation is that men feel benevolence about
those groups with whom they have more contact. In any
case, as this was the first attempt of which we are aware to
examine explicitly the relationship between sexism and the
possession of cross-sex friend s, we encourage other
researchers to investigate this issue further, perhaps using a
more implicit measure of sexism, as social desirab ility
concerns may have obscured any existing relationship.
Although researchers have studied some of the variables
measured here separately, this is the first attempt to tease
apart which factors may be among the most meaningful
predictors. It is quite remarkable that this study has
described 35% of the variance in proportions of CSF, with
perceptions regarding the general friendship benefits of
CSFs and cross-gender role orientation consistently and
significantly predicting a higher proportion of CSFs. Future
Sex Roles
researchers should seek to establish causal links between
these predictors and proportions of CSFs, as well as to
identify other facets of individuals personal predispositions
that may be significantly predictive of CSFs possession, as
sexone of the most frequently studied constructs in this
domainappears to explain relatively little.
Acknowledgments We thank the anonymous reviewers of an earlier
version of this manuscript for their helpful comments.
Friendship Qualities
A feeling of obligation
toward the other
Learning about own sexual
appeal (CSF item only)
Availability of emotional
Opportunity for
Physical protection (CSF item
Pleasure spending time
Confidentiality and trust
Possibility for romantic, or long-
term relationship (CSF item only)
Contribution to self-
Possibility for sexual relationship
(CSF item only)
Emotional protection
Possibility of envy or jealousy
Possibility of feeling patronized
Exchange of ideas or
points of view
Potential to interfere with an
ongoing romantic relationship
Practice communicating with
people of other sex (CSF item only)
Experience of platonic
Sense of belonging
Feeling respected
Sexual tension (CSF item only)
Feeling that someone will
stand up for you
Shared activities
Feeling understood
Shared interests
Feelings of acceptance
Spontaneity of expression and
Feelings of intimacy
Takes work to maintain
Gaining of positive
The views of others affect the
Interaction on the same
level (i.e., feeling of
Learning about other
Factors Extracted
General Benefits SSF (λ =9.29; % variance=37.73)
General Benefits CSF (λ =8.89; % variance=25.40)
General Costs SSF (λ =3.20; % variance=11.02)
General Costs CSF (λ =2.22; % variance=6.35)
Sexual Excitement CSF (λ =4.11; % variance=11.74)
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Sex Roles
... Connecting communication across work and personal spheres, I also draw from previous research demonstrating that individuals' close interpersonal relationships may influence both sexist attitudes and workplace behaviors (e.g., Lenton & Webber, 2006;Helms, Walls, Crouter, & McHale, 2010;Kapoor, Pfost, House, & Pierson, 2010;Brands & Kilduff, 2014;Kim & Dew, 2016;Carnes, 2017;Huffman, Matthews, & Irving, 2017;Umukoro & Oboh, 2017;Xie, Shi, & Ma, 2017;Yucel, 2017;Pepli, Godlewska-Werner, Po, & Lewandowska-Walter, 2018). I assume that this effect will persist in terms of intolerance for and reporting of harassing behaviors at work. ...
... This is suggested by previous research. Men who reported greater BS also had fewer cross-sex friendships (Lenton & Webber, 2006). Although sexism was not a predictor of female participants' cross-sex friendships, women who were more masculine reported having more cross-sex friendships, as compared to more feminine women (Lenton & Webber, 2006). ...
... Men who reported greater BS also had fewer cross-sex friendships (Lenton & Webber, 2006). Although sexism was not a predictor of female participants' cross-sex friendships, women who were more masculine reported having more cross-sex friendships, as compared to more feminine women (Lenton & Webber, 2006). Another study demonstrated that, women were more likely to seek out men in traditionally male-dominated careers for friendship, compared to women in general or men in other fields (Kapoor et al., 2010). ...
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how women interpret and respond to incidents of sexual harassment at work, in the context of both their romantic relationships and workplace cultures. Incorporating Ambivalent Sexism Theory (Fiske & Glick, 1995) to measure sexist attitudes, I presumed that their own, their partners’ and their presumed workplace’s sexism scores for both subsets would be linked to the women’s perceptions and behavioral intentions in response to being sexually harassed at work. Participants were 145 heterosexual adult women, employed full-time and in self-defined committed heterosexual relationships. Each completed a survey that included the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI) (Fiske & Glick, 1995), the Sexual Harassment Reporting Attitudes Scale (SHRAS) (Cesario, Parks-Stamm, & Turgut, 2018), likelihood of reporting scenarios of sexual harassment (SH), and number of special peers in the workplace. There was additional demographic data about the participants and their workplaces, most of which was incorporated as covariates. Results supported several of the asserted relationships. Although the predicted relationships between participants’ and their perceived partners’ and workplace sexist attitudes with reporting SH did not emerge, there were many significant findings regarding these variables and their associations with intolerance for SH. The majority of this study’s findings emerged as significant, even when testing alongside covariates of education, organization size, organization type, and number of special peers in the workplace with the exception of perceived partner HS and intolerance for SH that were non-significant. Future research should explore disclosures exchanged regarding such incidents at work in the context of both romantic relationships and other social relationships in and out of work.
... The feeling seems to be mutual; accounts drawn from popular culture suggest "guy's girls" are disliked and distrusted by other women (Baker, 2017;Reid, 2017). While past research has shown various attributes, such as personality (Altmann, 2020;Altmann & Roth, 2020;Laakasuo et al., 2017) and gender typicality (Altmann & Roth, 2020;Lenton & Webber, 2006;Reeder, 2003) are associated with women's preferences for male over female friends, no research has investigated how and why these preferences might relate to women's same-sex relationships. Moreover, no research has examined how women's friendship preferences influence others' evaluations. ...
... These findings suggest that women receive different benefits from forming friendships with men than they do from forming friendships with women. The degree to which women prefer male versus female friends is therefore expected to differ as a function of the value that women place on these different benefits (Lenton & Webber, 2006), which may be influenced by several factors both internal and external to the women doing the choosing. ...
... Some of these factors include a woman's personality and interests. For example, women who spend time in male-typical activities (Booth & Hess, 1974;Kalmijn, 2002), rate themselves as more masculine (Lenton & Webber, 2006;Reeder, 2003), and are high in trait extraversion and openness to experience (Altmann, 2020;Altmann & Roth, 2020;Laakasuo et al., 2017) typically have more male friends than women lower on either of these dimensions. ...
The current research examined the factors that impact women's preference for male (vs. female) friends and how these preferences, in turn, impact how women are evaluated by others. Studies 1–2 demonstrated that women who prefer male (vs. female) friends reported greater mating and sexual success, placed less trust in female friends, and held more hostility towards other women. Study 2 also showed that women's distrust of female friends is predicted by greater perceived aggression from female peers, which in turn predicted greater preference for male friends. Studies 3–5 revealed that women (but not men) reported greater distrust of female targets who prefer male (vs. female) friends. Study 5 further found that women's decreased trust in female targets who prefer male (vs. female) friends was predicted by expectations that these targets possess more socially undesirable traits, more hostility towards other women, and greater sexual unrestrictedness. Together, results suggest the relationship between women's friendship preferences and other women's evaluations may be bidirectional. Women's preference for male friends was predicted by perceived aggression from and lack of trust in other women, and other women distrusted and inferred negative traits about women who preferred male friends.
... To our knowledge, research has yet to examine emerging adults' friendships with women and men and how these relationships are related to their sexist attitudes, however, research has demonstrated the importance of friends in the development of traditional gender roles. Specifically, college men who ascribed to traditional gender role attitudes had fewer female friends compared to men who ascribed to less-traditional attitudes (Lenton & Webber, 2006). Other research on romantic relationships found that women who perceived their male partners as endorsing more benevolent sexism felt more relationship security in their relationship tended to endorse less benevolent sexism over time (Hammond et al., 2016). ...
... Further, the gender of one's friends may relate to the kinds of attitudes that develop. Because women tend to be less sexist than men (Bendixen & Kennair, 2017;Glick & Fiske, 1996;Parks & Roberton, 2004;Suchovicki, 2011), friendships with women might be particularly powerful in dampening sexist and sexually objectifying attitudes for men and women, particularly in a college setting (Lenton & Webber, 2006). In contrast, because men tend to have more sexist attitudes than women, friendships with men may solidify or exacerbate sexist attitudes. ...
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Building upon two complimentary theoretical frameworks related to group relations (i.e., Intergroup Contact Theory and Peer Exposure), we examined how emerging adults’ friendships with men and women were related to their hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, and sexual objectification attitudes. Participants were 212 college students ( M age = 20.20 years, SD = 2.08; 62% female; 58% White) from a large southwestern university. Results provided support for Intergroup Contact Theory and for a Peer Exposure effect, but only for men. Specifically, for men, having female friends was negatively associated with hostile sexism, and having male friends was positively related to hostile sexism; neither friendship type related to benevolent sexism. For women, no significant relations between friends and attitudes were found; this is likely due to the assessed attitudes being about women (their own group). The findings suggest a promising pathway to mitigate gender-based prejudice for men through cross-gender friendships.
... In the American society of the twenty-first century, cross-gender friendships are not only plausible but also desirable (Reeder, 2017). Indeed, among emerging adults, while gender segregation remains common (Mehta et al., 2014;Mehta et al., 2017), over 40% of friendships are cross-gender (Lenton & Webber, 2006). The main goals of this article are to examine gender differences in competition and reactions to competition in both same and cross-gender friendships of young adults. ...
... In recent years, cross-gender friendships have become more normative in the United States. While non-sexual cross-gender friendships are fairly common (Lenton & Webber, 2006), research has primarily focused on the sexual aspects of such relationships, for instance, investigating "hook up buddies" and "friends with benefits" (Hart et al., 2016;Machia et al., 2020;Stein et al., 2019). Moreover, whereas some studies have investigated competition in cross-gender stranger dyads (Felmlee, 1999), competition in cross-gender friendships has been largely ignored. ...
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This study explored gender differences in competition within friendships of emerging adults. In a sample of 118 same and cross-gender friendship dyads, we used a quasi-experimental design to examine how people competed with friends and reacted to this competition when completing a task in both competitive and noncompetitive conditions. Using an Actor-Partner Interdependence Modeling approach to data analyses, we found that in the noncompetitive condition, men and women competed more with same-gender than with cross-gender friends. In the competitive condition, however, both men and women behaved more competitively with male than with female friends. Interestingly, while men reported more stress when competing with cross-gender friends, there was no difference in reported stress for women, regardless of the gender of the friend with whom they were competing. The findings indicate that both the specific and general social context in which competition occurs are important in determining whether gender differences are observed.
... Cross-sex friendship places more emphasis on cost-benefit, such as meeting material needs, cognitive needs (e.g. experience or knowledge), and socio-emotional needs (e.g., by providing love and self-esteem; Lenton & Webber, 2006). In cross-sex friendships, women reported receiving protection from their opposite-sex friends more often than men did, and they perceived the protection as highly beneficial (Bleske & Buss, 2000). ...
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Friendship is a common and essential social relationship in daily life. Various works of literature have described friendship including how it is experienced in various contexts, yet limited studies have focused on the neighborhood context. This study aimed to investigate the relevance of neighborhood friendship and the characteristics of friendship that make it still relevant, especially in Indonesia. This study was conducted in two phases: 1) an online survey with an open-ended questionnaire and 2) in-depth interviews. A total of 222 participants completed the questionnaire and among those, 15 participants were interviewed to further understand the relevance of neighborhood friendship based on the emerging themes from the open-ended responses. This study found that neighborhood friendship is still relevant despite physical distance. Those relevancies are perceived in the three main characteristics of friendship: support, closeness, and history of relations. This study also found that the essence of friendship is not only discussed in a romantic view which highlights intimacy and closeness, but also in an instrumental view. However, support as an instrumental process may indicate the expressions of closeness, especially in close friendships. Furthermore, this study also suggests that although proximity characterized by physical interaction is crucial in the formation and maintenance of neighborhood friendship, physical distance and social mobility did not dissolve the relationship, due to the history of relations. In the neighborhood context, the history of relations bond people to a certain place and the social relationship formed in that particular place, stimulating certain feelings of belonging which encourage the maintenance of neighborhood friendship.
... The first finding extends past research focusing on explicitly negative attitudes toward women (38,39) or especially positive attitudes about men (40), to provide evidence of the more subtle effects of implicit STEM = male stereotypes for women's inclusion in STEM. In workplaces where women are devalued, connections to female colleagues (vs. ...
Significance Despite widespread initiatives to promote gender diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and math, subtle barriers to women’s success remain. We present evidence that men with stronger implicit stereotypes report socially including fewer women in the workplace. For women, the lack of social connections from men is linked to a lower sense of social fit and less workplace engagement. We discuss implications for how fostering positive cross-gender social relationships might benefit women and other marginalized groups in the workplace.
... On the contrary, girls have fewer, dyadic friendships (Lubbers, Snijders, and van der Werf 2011), which are characterised by exclusivity, intimacy, self-disclosure and emotional support (Rose and Rudolph 2006;Van der Graaff et al. 2014). Finally, children tend to select best friends of the same gender (McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Cook 2001), while adolescents also get involved in cross-sex friendships (Lenton and Webber 2006). ...
The present study examined younger and older children’s perceptions of friendship characteristics and expectations from best friends. One hundred and eighty eight children (Mage = 8.51 years old, SD = 1.70, age range: 6–11 years old) from two primary schools of Athens were involved in a 15-min semi-structured interview and produced drawings of themselves with their best friends. Results indicated that older children required significantly more affection from their best friends, and their conflicts involved public and private disrespect. In addition, in their drawings, similarity was a significant attribute. However, throughout childhood, propinquity, support, common interests and physical attraction were common prerequisites from best friendships. Gender differences were found, with girls requiring quality in their best friendships.
... By late adolescence, cross-gender friendships are the norm: Among 12 th graders, the proportion of adolescents reporting at least one close cross-gender friend is 47% (Kuttler et al., 1999). In a sample of college students, 93% report having at least one close cross-gender friend (Horner, 1995), while another college-aged sample reported that 42% of their friendships were with members of the opposite gender (Lenton & Webber, 2006). In addition,15% of a late adolescent sample reported that the person they considered to be their "closest confidant" was a crossgender friend (Barstead et al., 2013). ...
The primary aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in problem content and dyadic problem talk duration as potential contributors to previously documented depressogenic effects of co-rumination in late adolescence. Participants (N = 176 undergraduate students) included pairs of same-gender female (n = 37), same-gender male (n = 15), and cross-gender (n = 36) friends who completed self-report measures assessing individual depressive symptom severity, as well as within-dyad co-rumination habits and friendship quality. Dyads also participated in an observational problem talk task, which asked each dyad member to identify a current personal problem and discuss it with their friend during a 16-minute videotaped session. Each participant’s identified problem was coded for inclusion of interpersonal and dependent content, and videotaped conversations were coded for the total time each dyad spent discussing problems and the total time each dyad member spent discussing their own problem (own-problem talk) and their friend’s problem (friend-problem talk). Consistent with existing depression literature, results indicated that females reported greater depressive symptom severity than males. Female dyads also reported the most co-rumination and engaged in the longest total problem talk, and both male and female participants reported engaging in more co-rumination when their dyad partner was female. However, own- and friend-problem talk did not vary by gender, and neither co-rumination nor total, own-, or friend-problem talk duration were predictive of depressive symptoms. Although female gender did not predict problem content, and problem content was not associated with depressive symptoms, interpersonal problem content predicted increased own-problem talk. These findings are in contrast to the overwhelming majority of research that has found co-rumination to be predictive of depressive symptoms, and provide no direct support suggesting that problem content and problem talk duration contribute to the depression gender gap. However, results do indicate that problem talk, a key component of co-rumination, is most likely to be prolonged when the problem being discussed has interpersonal content. The current results thus suggest that cumulative rather than interactive effects of gender and problem content may impact the co-rumination habits of late adolescents.
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Hubungan persahabatan merupakan salah satu hubungan interpersonal yang sangat penting dalam kehidupan seseorang. Persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina merupakan salah satu jenis persahabatan akrab. Sosialisasi gender dan agama mempunyai pengaruh yang signifikan terhadap individu yang mengamalkan persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina. Kajian ini adalah bertujuan untuk memahami makna persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina serta mengenal pasti pengaruh sosialisasi gender dan agama dalam persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina. Kajian ini hanya memfokuskan kepada informan Melayu yang beragama Islam dan merupakan pelajar Universiti Sains Malaysia. Pendekatan kualitatif digunakan dalam proses pengumpulan dan analisis data yang melibatkan kaedah temu bual secara mendalam bersama tujuh orang informan. Kajian ini mendapati bahawa makna persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina adalah sama dengan persahabatan akrab sama jantina tetapi berbeza dari perspektif batas pergaulan, emosi dan sensitiviti, rahsia dan kepercayaan serta persaingan. Malah, persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina bukan hanya bersifat platonik tetapi juga melibatkan hubungan romantik. Keluarga dan rakan sebaya merupakan agen sosialisasi utama dalam sosialisasi gender. Amalan gender dalam persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina dapat dilihat dalam konteks aktiviti dan minat serta gaya berkomunikasi. Manakala amalan intimasi dalam persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina dibincangkan dalam konteks keselesaan, sokongan tidak bersyarat dan ekspresi emosi. Berbeza dengan sosialisasi gender, keluarga dan sekolah merupakan agen sosialisasi utama dalam sosialisasi agama. Amalan agama dalam persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina dapat dilihat dalam konteks batasan pergaulan iaitu fizikal, batas perbualan dan batas aurat. Manakala, amalan intimasi dalam persahabatan akrab berlainan jantina dibincangkan dalam konteks fizikal, emosi dan spiritual.
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The present study examined heterosexual emerging adults’ retrospective accounts of gender-stereotypical messages about women and men from their families while growing up. We tested the reported frequencies of gendered messages in relation to the participants’ current beliefs about gender and their self-reported gender, ethnicity, and family backgrounds. The sample included 499 undergraduate students attending California public universities (48.5% female; Mage = 19.31 years; 40.7% Latinx; 30.1% Asian American; 29.3% European American). Participants rated the frequencies that they recalled influential relatives describing men versus women as trustworthy, manipulative, gold-diggers, dangerous, or promiscuous. Women were more likely than men to recall the other gender characterized as untrustworthy, dangerous, and promiscuous; and men were more likely than women to recall the other gender described as manipulative and gold-diggers. Some reported gendered messages were more likely among Latinx participants (vs. other ethnic backgrounds) or those raised in single-mother (vs. dual-parent) households. Next, recalling gendered messages was related to holding congruent beliefs about the other gender and to women’s (but not men’s) endorsement of benevolent sexism. These findings highlight the potential importance of gendered messages in the development of gender-stereotypical beliefs in emerging adulthood.
This chapter reviews the literature on cross-sex friendships and communication across the life cycle. It begins by establishing the importance and historical relevance of cross-sex friendships and the relative neglect of these relationships by the scholarly community. It then offers a delineation of conceptual and methodological issues involved in the study of male-female friendships. Next, with a focus on communication, studies are reviewed on cross-sex friendships in early childhood, middle and late childhood, adolescence, young and middle adulthood, and old age. Finally, the author makes some summarizing observations concerning the lack of theory in cross-sex friendship studies, the adoption of a “heterosexist” worldview in cross-sex friendship investigations, and the relative neglect of communication topics pertinent to those friendships. The central observation in the chapter is that cross-sex friendships have a protean quality that makes them significantly different in each stage of the life cycle, and that those differences are manifested in communication.
To have friends is considered to be a normal and desirable aspect of a modern American social life. The mass media is filled with images of all types of people working and relaxing with one or more friends. Empirical studies support this image of friends as being an important part of the normal social life. In one such study, Lowenthal, Thurnher, and Chiriboga (1975) did an extensive survey of the friendship patterns of adults in the United States. They found that, on the average, people report having approximately six relationships that can be called friendships. However, this number varies in predictable ways with life stage. For example, newlyweds have the highest number of reported friends (eight). This is higher than the average five reported by high-schoolers, the average five reported by middle-age married persons, or the average six reported by persons about to retire. Even with these fluctuations it is clear that Americans typically have a substantial number of friends over the life cycle.
The structural opportunities and normal constraints affecting the cross sex friendships of men and women were explored. Interview data from 800 middle aged and elderly urban residents revealed that, while only a minority report cross sex friends, they constitute a significant segment of the interpersonal resources of a number of adults. Women had fewer opportunities and were subject to more constraints with respect to the formation of cross sex friendship ties than men.
Based on the responses of 118 male and 79 female college students, a factor analysis of the 40 sex-typed items from the Bem Sex-role Inventory and sex of respondent yielded four factors which were almost identical to those reported by Waters, Waters, and Pincus (1977). One of the factors essentially represented the gender of the respondent. A second factor representing an expressive, affective orientation was defined by feminine sex-typed items. The other two factors were primarily defined by masculine sex-typed items. One stressed independence, self-sufficiency, and individuality while the other stressed leadership, aggressiveness, and forcefulness. These latter factors were interpreted in terms of an “agentic” orientation (Bakan, 1966) and an “instrumental” orientation (Parsons & Bales, 1955).