What is it about?

Previous research on friendship stability shows mixed results for gender: sometimes girls are shown to have less stable friendships than boys, sometimes not. We propose that these mixed findings may happen because one's gender is not as important as how one does one's gender (e.g., how masculine or feminine one feels). We found that feeling more similar to other-gender peers did not increase the probability that friendships would dissolve, though we did find that feeling similar to own-gender peers increased friendship stability. We also found that girl/girl friendships were more stable than boy/boy friendships, but same-gender friendships were not more stable than cross-gender friendships.

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Why is it important?

We moved the focus away from gender differences and toward an investigation of how gender might influence friendship stability in adolescence. We also used a few important methodological upgrades that strengthen this research: we used a multilevel format, which allowed us to track all of an adolescent's friendships (as opposed to one friendship per person, which many studies do). We included cross-gender friendships (i.e., girl/boy) in our analysis, though most studies only look at same-gender friendships due to lack of power. Finally, we analyzed friendship outcomes at the level of the individual (e.g., gender typicality), at the level of the dyad (e.g, dyad-level typicality similarity, or discrepancy between two individuals), and the interactions between the individual and dyadic levels (e.g., gender and the difference between two friends' gender typicality).

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This page is a summary of: Does gender-bending help or hinder friending? The roles of gender and gender similarity in friendship dissolution., Developmental Psychology, June 2020, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/dev0000930.
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