Girlfriend, boyfriend: Age and sex differences in intimate friendship

Ruth Sharabany, Ruth Gershoni, John E. Hofman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigated changes in intimate friendship with same- and opposite-sex friends in preadolescence and adolescence, using the Intimacy Scale. Ss were Israeli children from the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th grades (60 boys and 60 girls from each grade), who rated their friendship with a same- or opposite-sex best friend. There was a significant age difference in overall intimacy with same-sex friends. Frankness and spontaneity, knowing and sensitivity, attachment, exclusiveness, and giving and sharing were factors that changed with age. Trust and loyalty, and taking and imposing did not. Opposite-sex friendship revealed a significant increase in intimacy with age. Boys and girls did not differ in reported opposite-sex friendship in the 5th and 7th grades, whereas girls in the 9th and 11th grades reported higher intimacy than did boys. This sex-by-age pattern of interaction was particularly evident for attachment and for trust and loyalty. Girls were higher in knowing and sensitivity, giving and sharing, and taking and imposing. The implications for further differentiation among types of peer relations and interrelation of dyadic friendship and cognitive growth are discussed. (42 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-808
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1981


  • ratings of intimate friendship with same- vs opposite-sex friend, 5th vs 7th vs 9th vs 11th graders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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