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Preference for Same- Versus Cross-Sex Friendships


Donna Webster Nelson, Department of Psychology, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 29733. E-mail:


How is preferring same- vs. cross-sex friendships related to one's perceptions of these friendships? In Phase 1, college students (N = 122) listed qualities they valued in their same- and cross-sex friends. In Phase 2, survey items constructed from the responses were administered to 231 students who indicated a preference for same- vs. cross-sex friendship. Those who reported a preference for opposite-sex friends rated these friendships as higher in closeness, trust, caring, having common interests, and providing narcissistic benefits, compared to those who reported a preference for same-sex friends. Results demonstrate that gender differences often associated with close friendships are greatly attenuated and sometimes reversed when preference for same- vs. cross-sex friendship is included as a moderating variable.