Enjoying Each Other’s Company: Gaining Other-Gender Friendships Promotes Positive Gender Attitudes Among Ethnically Diverse Children

  • May Ling D. Halim (Creator)
  • Carol Martin (Creator)
  • Naomi C Z Andrews (Creator)
  • Kristina M. Zosuls (Creator)
  • Diane N. Ruble (Creator)



Gender segregation is ubiquitous and may lead to increased bias against other-gender peers. In this study, we examined whether individual differences in friendships with other-gender children reduce gender bias, and whether these patterns vary by gender or ethnicity. Using a 1-year longitudinal design (N = 408 second graders [Mage = 7.56 years] and fourth graders [Mage = 9.48 years]), we found that, across groups, gaining more other-gender friendships over the year led to (a) increased positive cognitive-based attitudes toward the other gender and (b) increased positive and decreased negative affect when with the other gender. We also tested the reverse pattern and found support for a bidirectional link. Girls and Latinx children often showed more gender bias than did boys and European American children. Implications for promoting positive relationships between girls and boys are discussed.
Date made available2021
Publisherfigshare SAGE Publications

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