Brotherly love I: The experience of closeness in the fraternal dyad


  • The author is a doctoral student in communication at the University of Arizona. The assistance of Valerie Manusov, Rodney Cate, and three anonymous reviewers is gratefully acknowledged.

  • A version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Speech Communication Association, November 1995, San Antonio, Texas.

Address correspondence to Kory Floyd, Communication Building 25, Room 200, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.


The present research explicates the experience of closeness in dyadic relationships between brothers. A total of 160 respondents comprising 80 intact brother dyads described situations or events in which they felt particularly close to each other. Phenomenological analyses identified five themes characterizing the experience of closeness among brothers: shared conversation, solidarity, companionship, shared perceptions and memories, and surviving shared adversity. Some of these themes confirmed prior research on siblings or male-male relationships, whereas others have not emerged in previous studies. Results are discussed in relation to contemporary appeals for a more inclusive theoretical approach to the study of close relationships.