Though there is increasing awareness of the potential benefits of other-gender interactions and friendships, there has been little research examining the factors that might act as barriers or promoters of such friendships. Our goal was to explore both individual-level factors (i.e., gender identity) and indicators of the social environment (i.e., perceived peer norms) that might relate to other-gender friendships. Sixth graders (N = 396, 47% girls; 65% White) nominated friends in their classrooms, reported their similarity to both own- and other-gender peers and reported on perceived peer norms related to other-gender interaction. Results indicated that, in general, feeling similar to other-gender youth was associated with more other-gender friends. Positive peer norms (e.g., heightened respect) but not negative norms (e.g., teasing) also were associated with more other-gender friends. Findings have implications for the importance of broadening our understanding of friendship homophily to consider gendered interests/similarities in addition to gender category. Further, the promotion of positive peer norms over negative ones might be an effective means of intervention to promote other-gender friendships.
- gender identity
- gender typicality
- peer norms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)