Sex Roles

, Volume 37, Issue 11–12, pp 825–845 | Cite as

A balance theory explanation of challenges confronting cross-sex friendships

  • Michael Monsour
  • Vickie Harvey
  • Sam Betty


This study was part of an ongoing investigation into four of the potential challenges confronting women and men in cross-sex fiendships (O’Meara, 1989). Unlike previous research, which explored the perspective of only one member of each cross-sex fnendship, this study examined the perspectives of both individuals in cross-sex fienhhips. The levels of actual and perceived agreement and understanding were investigated through utilization of a variation of Heiderian Balance Theory and Laing’s Interpersonal Perception Method. Seventy three pairs of cross-sex fiends completed a survey examining direct perspectives, metaperspectives, and meta-metaperspectives, on the four challenges. Over 92% of the participants were heterosexual, 68% were Caucasian, 10% were Afican American, 10% were Hispanic, 3% were Asian, 4% were Native American, and 5% indicated “other.” Results indicate that cross-sex fiends generally agree that O’Meara’s four challenges present only minimal problems in their individual relationships, and that balance theory provides a viable explanation of how perceived agreement and understanding concerning challenges are arrived at within cross-sex fnendships. Additionally, results illustrating disagreements and misunderstandings within cross-sex friendships highlight the importance of looking at the perspectives of both individuals within a dyad.


Balance Theory Actual Agreement Actual Understanding Equality Challenge Interpersonal Perception 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Monsour
    • 1
  • Vickie Harvey
    • 2
  • Sam Betty
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Colorado at Denver, P.O. Box 173364Department of CommunicationsDenver
  2. 2.John Carroll UniversityDenver
  3. 3.University of Colorado at DenverDenver

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