Masculinity, gender role conflict, and male-male friendships

David Randall Buckner, Tennessee State University


The purpose of the study was to examine the possible influences of masculine attitude and gender role conflict on 413 men and their same-gender friendships. The Traditional-Liberated Masculine Attitude (Fiebert, 1984) and the Gender Role Conflict scales (O'Neil et al., 1986) were utilized along with the Acquaintance Description Form-Revised (ADF-F2, Wright, 1982). Results indicated that men tend to view their Best Friend with more quality and strength than their Casual Acquaintance, and men were most likely to choose a Best Friend with a similar Masculine Attitude as themselves, although this was not the case for the Casual Acquaintance friendship. Two MANOVA's revealed important features for both the Best Friend and Casual Acquaintance friendships. MANOVA revealed that men who reported on gender role conflict, Restrictive Emotionality viewed their Casual Acquaintance as less likely to offer and provide time and resources to help them meet their needs or achieve personal goals. In comparison, men who reported on the gender role factor, Conflict Between Work and Family Relations, viewed their Casual Acquaintance as more likely to provide their time and offer resources to help them meet their needs. There were three significant main effects and one interaction effect with regards to the Best Friend dyad. The response pattern indicated that men who reported on the main effect, Restrictive Emotionality scored higher on the ADF-F2 scales Person-qua-Person and General Favourability than men who reported on Restrictive Affectionate Behavior Between Men (Homophobia). That is, these men expressed greater concern and were genuinely interested in their Best Friend and viewed this friendship in an overall positive manner. Similarly, men who endorsed a “Traditional” masculine attitude scored significantly higher on the ADF-F2 category Person-qua-Person than “Liberated” men. Thus, Traditional men expressed a more genuine interest and personal concern for their Best Friend than Liberated men. The interaction effect was observed between gender role conflict and masculine attitude on the ADF-F2 Maintenance Difficulty. The findings indicate that Liberated men who reported an Homophobia scored higher Maintenance Difficulty than Traditional Respondents who reported the same conflict. In addition, Liberated men who reported on gender role conflict, Success, power, and Competition scored lower their ability to maintain a friendship than Traditional men with the same gender role conflict.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

David Randall Buckner, "Masculinity, gender role conflict, and male-male friendships" (1999). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3007597.