Adolescents' sex-typed friendship experiences: Does having a sister versus a brother matter?

Kimberly Updegraff, Susan M. McHale, Ann C. Crouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This study examines the connections between having a sister versus a brother and coming from a same-sex versus an opposite-sex sibling dyad and the degree of sex-typing in adolescents' friendship experiences, including the qualities of their friendships (i.e., intimacy, control) and their friends' personal attributes (i.e., sex-typed leisure interests, expressive and instrumental personality qualities). Participants were 159 firstborn-secondborn adolescent sibling pairs (M = 14.94 years and M = 12.43 years, respectively) and a close friend of each sibling (N = 636, including siblings and friends). Data were collected during home visits with siblings and telephone interviews with friends of siblings. The results suggested that sisters may learn control tactics from their brothers that they apply in their friendships; boys, however, were less likely to model the emotional intimacy that characterized their sisters' experiences with friends. In addition, coming from an opposite-sex sibling dyad was linked to sex-typing in friends' personal attributes, particularly their masculine leisure interests and instrumental personality qualities. Sisters and brothers may provide unique opportunities to learn about sex-typed relationship experiences in early adolescence, a time when gender segregation in the peer context is pervasive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1597-1610
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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