Sex differences in same- and cross-sex supportive relationships
The current study focused on sex differences in same- and cross-sex supportive relationships. Subjects, 249 female and 103 male volunteers, completed a questionnaire designed to assess the nature and quality of supportive relationships. Four dimensions of relationships were examined: the relative frequency and patterning of interactions, closeness, diversity of interactions, and interpersonal perception. A 2×2 multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted with sex of subject as a randomized factor and sex of supporter as a repeated factor. Sixteen dependent variables measured the relationship dimensions. Results of the MANOVA suggested that there are differences between women and men in the qualities of their same- and cross-sex supportive relationships. In same-sex relationships, women have more contact when under stress; are closer; more satisfied with initiation, balance, and closeness; and perceive themselves as knowing the other and being known by the other more than do men. Women initiate more in cross-sex relationships, and want to give more than men do. Men describe cross-sex relationships as closer than women do. Both women and men want more frequent contact, closer relationships, and want to give more in cross-sex relationships than in same-sex ones. These and further results, and implications of the findings are discussed. © 1987 Plenum Publishing Corporation.
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