Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Sex Roles, Vol. 51, No. 3/4 (August 2004), pp. 217–225. Copyright © 2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation, division of Springer Verlag. DOI - 10.1023/B:SERS.0000037765.77313.c4


The purpose of this study was to examine gender-and age-related patterns of friendship preferences among Brazilian children. In particular, we examined: (a) children’s same-sex friendship preference, and its greater intensity among older children; (b) higher exclusivity among girls and higher inclusiveness among boys; and (c) generally higher exclusivity and inclusiveness among older children. Participants were 210 (110 boys, 100 girls) public school students from Brazil who ranged in age from 3.0 to 10.5 years of age. Children were asked to nominate their best friends and to rate how much they liked and disliked each of their other classmates. Children generally nominated more of same-sex peers as best friends and gave more negative ratings to their cross-sex peers. These same-sex preferences were more intense at the older age groups. Girls and older children gave more negative peer ratings and nominated fewer best friends than boys and younger children. However, the oldest age group gave significantly fewer negative peer ratings than did the younger groups—both in their same-sex and overall negative peer ratings. Results are generally consistent with patterns found in prior studies with children from the United States, but unique gender and age-related patterns also emerged.