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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Conceptions of friendship: how women and men perceive themselves and others in the context of their friendships Parker, Sandra


This study examined the ways in which women and men view themselves and their women and men friends, in the context of their friendships. Ninety-five female and 95 male undergraduates completed the Friendship Questionnaire, in which they rated each of their closest friends, and rated themselves with each of those friends, on 13 dimensions of friendship. Test-retest procedures demonstrated the measure had satisfactory reliability. The general results are reflected in three patterns of friendship: 1) relationships with men friends tend to be less reciprocal than relationships with women friends in self disclosure, empathic understanding, deepening other's self awareness, and responsibility; 2) men's same-sex relationships tend to be lower in appreciation, empathic understanding, deepening other's self awareness, responsibility, and empowerment; and 3) women tend to report that they give more than they receive in friendships with women and men, on empathic understanding, self disclosure, and connectedness. The results of this study support the notion that although there is more commonality than difference in women's and men's friendships, many significant differences do exist. Further, this methodology illustrates the importance of studying people's conceptions of themselves and their friendships within the context of their specific real-life relationships.

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