The closest friendships of adult women : a family life cycle approach Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8c97kt56p

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  • Friendship is an extremely significant and meaningful relationship for women of all ages, yet little research has been conducted on the friendships of adult women. Recent research indicates that aspects of friendship change as people progress through their adult years and take on family and work roles, but previous studies have focused on the structural attributes of friendships and not on the qualitative nature of these relationships. The main focus of this research was the level of emotional closeness between adult women and their closest non-kin friend, and how that closeness may be associated with women's stage of the family life cycle and work status. In addition, frequency of contact and similarities between friends were also investigated. A questionnaire was mailed to 666 randomly selected women from the voter registration list of a partly urban county. The final sample consisted of 315 adult women. Findings from this study indicate that emotional closeness and frequency of contact in the closest friendships of adult women were not associated with respondents' family or work status. Women and their closest friends were significantly similar in gender, age, family life cycle stage, and work status. All respondents were more likely to have close friends who were married. Intimacy was found to be related to duration of the friendship, where the friend lives, and form of contact. The primary source of close friendships for women at all stages of the family life cycle was either community or work. The data indicate that women are similar to their closest friend in certain social attributes and are able to maintain close friendships during adult years even when other roles are making demands on their time and energy. Friendship is a vital and meaningful relationship to women throughout adulthood. Continued research which investigates the qualitative nature of these relationships from a dyadic and longitudinal perspective is needed.
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