The costs and benefits of adolescent friendship

Author: Button, Matthew Graham

Date: 1995

Publisher: University of Canterbury

Type: Theses / Dissertations

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A study of 244 adolescents aged between 15 and 17 investigated the benefits and costs of close friendships. Three major cost categories were discovered (conflict, costs of intimacy, and romantic difficulties) along with four benefit categories (intimacy, companionship, mutuality, and material gains). As the level of closeness between the friends increased, the levels of costs and benefits increased for all categories, except conflict where closer friendships had less conflict. Social exchange theory, which evaluates the development and maintenance of relationships using a cost-benefit type analysis, was used to explain why closeness had such an impact. Friendships with females were more intimate and experienced more costs of intimacy, whereas friendships with males were more conflicting, yet had more material gains. Further research needs to be focused on both the negative side of close friendship and cross-sex friendship dynamics.

Subjects: Friendship in adolescence, Social exchange

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