The research investigates differences between heterosexual (n = 714) and lesbian and gay men (n = 386) young adults regarding best friendship patterns, well-being, and social anxiety. Based on data from a paper-pencil survey of 1,100 Italian young adults aged 18 to 26, this study underlines the importance of the best friend in young adults’ psychological adjustment, highlighting patterns of friendship in heterosexual and lesbian and gay men young adults. Overall, the majority of participants declared that they had best friends; in the total sample, significant differences were found between women and men, and between lesbian/gay men participants and heterosexual young adults. Lesbian and gay men participants reported more cross-gender best friendships than heterosexual participants did, as well as more cross-orientation best friendships. Gender differences were found only with regards to cross-gender friendships: gay men reported more cross-gender friendships than lesbians did, while heterosexual females reported a higher percentage of cross-gender best friendship than heterosexual males did. MANOVA analysis, only in the gay and lesbian sample, showed the effect of gender, cross-gender, and cross-orientation on well-being and social anxiety. For the well-being dimension, gay men participants with female best friends reported higher scores. In terms of social anxiety, lesbian and gay young adults with cross-gender and cross-orientation best friends reported lower levels of social anxiety.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 12, 2014
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