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Gender-Typed Behaviors in Friendships and Well-Being: A Cross-Cultural Study of Chinese and American Boys


  • The U.S. data come from the Center for Research on Culture, Development and Education at New York University, funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant# 0721383). The PIs are Niobe Way, Diane Hughes, Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa.

  • The China data come from collaboration among New York University, Harvard University, the University of Western Ontario, and Southeast University. The project is funded by each of the collaborating universities and by the Educational Ministry in China. The PIs of the project in China are Niobe Way, Xinyin Chen, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa.

  • This article was written by Dr. McGill in her private capacity. No official support or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education is intended or should be inferred.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Taveeshi Gupta, New York University, 246 Greene Street, 8th floor, New York, NY 10003. E-mail:


This 3-year, longitudinal analysis examined the psychological and social correlates of adhering to gender-typed behaviors in friendships among boys during middle school in United States (= 446, Mage = 11.37 years) and in China (= 368, Mage = 12.20 years). Results indicated that boys did not differ by nationality in the mean levels or in the increase over time in adherence to gender-typed behaviors. Furthermore, adherence over time was associated with higher depressive symptoms, lower self-esteem, and lower friendship quality for boys in both countries. However, the associations between gender-typed behaviors and friendship quality and depressive symptoms were stronger for boys in the United States. Our study suggests that gender-typed behaviors play an important role in the well-being of youth in different parts of the world.