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Title: Women and men as friends : the experience of heterosexual cross-sex friendships
Authors: Vella, Gail (2006)
Keywords: Men -- Malta
Women -- Malta
Friendship -- Malta
Man-woman relationships -- Malta
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: Vella, G. (2006). Women and men as friends : the experience of heterosexual cross-sex friendships (Bachelor’s dissertation).
Abstract: The research literature indicates that cross-sex friendships have been on the increase since the 1970's. The aim of this study was to establish whether such-relationships are common in Malta and what the experience of such a relationship really involves. Both the qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used. The survey results indicate that 66.7% of the 138 participating University students were involved in a cross-sex relationship, with 11.4% of these having some degree of sexual involvement within this dyad. Three couples of cross-sex friends were interviewed in-depth and thematic analysis was used. Eight main themes were identified. These were: (i) the cross-sex friend as a familial significant other, (ii) partial activation of the incest taboo, (iii) cross sex relationships involve non-romantic love, (iv) support and reciprocity towards the cross-sex friend, (v) living in fear of loss, (vi) a venue for shared activities, (vii) friendship as independent of biological sex and finally (viii) lack of supportive societal norms. Results clearly indicate that cross-sex friendships are a common occurrence within at least certain groups of the populations. When they do occur, great importance is attributed to them and partners within these dyads actually fear loss of their cross-sex friend once involvement with a third person occurs. Significantly both the survey and in-depth interviews suggest that Catholicism is not seen as influential on the development or otherwise of these relationships. The great sense of familiarity, gossip and reciprocity were unique characteristics of Maltese cross-sex friendships.
Description: B.PSY.(HONS)
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoW - 1997-2010
Dissertations - FacSoWPsy - 1993-2010

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