Friendship qualities and social-emotional functioning of adolescents with close, cross-sex friendships

Ami Flam Kuttler, Annette M. La Greca, Mitchell J. Prinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The significance of having close, cross-sex friendships in adolescence was examined with 223 adolescents in Grades 10 through 12. Adolescents with only same-sex friends were compared to adolescents with both same- and cross-sex friends in terms of their social and emotional functioning. In addition, the friendship qualities (companionship, intimacy, prosocial support, esteem support) of adolescents with same- and cross-sex friendships were compared. Adolescent age and gender were considered in the analyses. Results revealed that having a close, cross-sex friend is a common experience in adolescence, and increases with adolescent age. Furthermore, findings revealed that (a) adolescents reported more companionship in their same-sex versus cross-sex friendships, (b) younger adolescent girls reported more prosocial support in their same- versus cross-sex friendships, and (c) adolescent boys reported receiving more esteem support from their cross-sex friends. Unlike during middle childhood, having close, cross-sex friends in adolescence does not appear to be associated with problems in social or behavioral adjustment, but is associated with lower perceived social acceptance. The implications of these and other findings for understanding adolescents' close friendships and issues for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-366
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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