Identity as a moderator of gender differences in the emotional closeness of emerging adults' same- and cross-sex friendships

H. Durell Johnson, Evelyn Brady, Renae McNair, Darcy Congdon, Jamie Niznik, Samantha Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Closeness is an integral aspect of friendships, and males and females differ in their closeness experiences within these relationships. However, identity development and friendship type (e.g., same-sex versus cross-sex friendships) may moderate these gender differences. In an attempt to clarify the relation-ships among gender, identity, and friendship closeness, the current study examined gender and identity associations with reported emotional closeness in emerging adults' same- and cross-sex friendships. Responses from 181 college undergraduates (89 males and 92 females) indicated similar levels of emotional closeness reported for same- and cross-sex friendships. Results also indicated overall identity commitment and friendship identity commitment associations with same-sex friendship closeness. Examination of closeness reports for cross-sex friends revealed a significant association with overall identity commitment for emerging adult males. A significant association was not indicated for emerging adult females. The associations between identity and emotional closeness in same-sex friendships and male cross-sex friendships support previous studies that report differences in the role of these relationships for emerging adult males and females. Findings are discussed in terms of understanding the gender and identity differences in emerging adults' reports of friendship closeness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number165
StatePublished - Mar 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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