Gender role conflict: Intimacy and closeness in male-male friendships

Frank Joseph Sileo, Fordham University


The present study was designed to investigate hypotheses regarding the theory of gender role conflict in delineating factors related to intimacy and closeness in male-male friendships. Specifically, male friendships were analyzed based on four factors: (a) success, power, competition; (b) restrictive emotionality; (c) restrictive affectionate behavior between men/homophobia; and (d) conflicts between work and family. In addition, this study examined a possible hypothesized relation between gender role conflict as a theory and intimacy and closeness in male friendships. Subjects (N = 150) were Caucasian men in the age range between 25-70. The subjects were obtained based on their occupations and distributed across Holland's Occupational Classification System. Subjects were asked to complete four surveys: a demographic data sheet, the Gender Role Conflict Scale, an Intimacy Scale, and the Close Friendship Scale. A total of 174 questionnaire packets were mailed out or hand given to subjects and 150 or 86% were returned. Data were analyzed by correlations, two stepwise multiple regressions, and one canonical correlation. The correlations indicated that (a) restrictive emotionality, (b) success, power, competition, (c) homophobia, and (d) total gender role conflict demonstrated significant inverse relationships with the dependent variables intimacy and close friendship. Conflicts between work and family failed to demonstrate any relationship with the dependent variables. The first stepwise multiple regression for intimacy demonstrated restrictive emotionality, homophobia, and success, power, competition contributed to the variance in intimacy. Conflicts between work and family failed to enter the regression equation for intimacy. The second stepwise regression for close friendship found restrictive emotionality and homophobia contributed to the variance in close friendship. The variables success, power, competition, and conflicts between work and family failed to enter the regression equation. In the canonical correlation, restrictive emotionality and homophobia were the most important components of the canonical variate with a somewhat weaker contribution made by success, power, competition. However, the canonical weights indicated that most of the variance was accounted for by the relationship between restrictive emotionality and intimacy. These findings were discussed in relation to gender role conflict and research on male friendships. Limitations of the study, counseling implications, and areas for future research are presented.

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Sileo, Frank Joseph, "Gender role conflict: Intimacy and closeness in male-male friendships" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9543462.