Gender Differences in Friendship Values: Intensification at Adolescence

Karen D. Rudolph, Jillian F. Dodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Friendships can provide a critical buffer against stress for youth, but the extent to which they serve this role depends on whether they provide resources that youth value most. These valued provisions may differ for girls and boys and across stages of development. This study examined whether gender differences in friendship values intensify across the adolescent transition, specifically from elementary to junior high school. Youth (73 elementary schoolers; 80 junior high schoolers; Mage = 11.40 years; SDage = 1.55) completed a novel friendship values measure assessing how much youth valued psychological provisions (intimacy, support) and recreational provisions (companionship, enjoyment) in their friendships. Consistent with predictions, results revealed that junior high school girls place higher value on psychological provisions, whereas junior high school boys place higher value on recreational provisions, differences that were less apparent during elementary school. These gender differences in friendship values may have trade-offs for adolescent socioemotional development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-607
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • adolescence
  • friendship values
  • gender differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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