Dynamics of Friendship Reciprocity Among Professional Adults
Olk, Paul M.
Gibbons, Deborah E.
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Friendship is generally a reciprocal relation, yet many enduring ties are not symmetrical. Sometimes, only one member of a dyad considers the other a friend, or may see their relation as a close friendship while the other does not. Existing theories imply that personal and social attributes may influence the likelihood of reciprocity in friendship. In this longitudinal study, we found that demographic and educational attributes had little effect, but relative gregariousness and popularity consistently influenced development and persistence of unequally reciprocated friendships in 2 cohorts of executive MBA students. Additionally, higher gatekeeping power predicted greater tendency to befriend members of different age categories. Although gatekeeping power correlated directly with unequal reciprocity, the effect was mediated by gregariousness and popularity.
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