ERIC Number: ED361070
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Ecological Contributions to Gender Differences in Intimacy among Peers.
Van Brunschot, Michelle; And Others
Children's relationships with their peers become more intimate as they grow older, with girls tending to experience intimacy in their friendships at an earlier age than their male counterparts. The size, friendship composition, and activity of elementary school children's play groups were recorded in an attempt to identify probable environmental causes of gender differences in the development of intimacy among peers. The study sample consisted of 25 children (18 girls) between the ages of 6 and 7, 23 children (11 girls) between 8 and 9, and 38 children (15 girls) between 10 and 11. The children were observed during recess for 4 months. Study findings included the following: (1) boys played in larger groups than girls; (2) fifth grade girls' tendency to play in groups of four or more suggests that group size is not a likely explanation for gender differences in intimacy; (3) boys engaged in competitive play and girls in socializing activity with increasing age, suggesting that intimacy development may be linked to activity; (4) the friendship composition of fifth grade children's play groups indicated that socializing occurred most often among reciprocal friends, whereas competitive and physical games occurred in mixtures of friends and non-friends; and (5) differences in composition suggested that different activities may provide varying opportunities for intimate exchanges. (AC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (60th, New Orleans, LA, March 25-28, 1993).