Girls' friendships and the formation of sexual identities

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(create) This chapter makes a number of points about the importance of female friendships for girls and young women and the role of female friendships in the construction of lesbian (and heterosexual and bisexual) identities. Firstly, most research on friendship in the mainstream social psychology is primarily relevant to the relationship patterns of heterosexual women and men and especially those in Western industrialized societies. Evidence from the emerging field of lesbian and gay psychology indicates that the same-sex and cross-sex friendships are not so differentiated by gender amongst lesbians and gay men compared to their heterosexual peers. Secondly, close female friendships are important to all young women as part of the process of sexual identification and negotiation. Finally, there is a small and relatively distinct research literature which focuses on the lives of young lesbians and which indicates that female friendships can be a source of support, intimacy, longing and abuse for young lesbians. It is concluded that a great deal more research remains to be carried out if we are to appreciate the diverse experiences of young lesbians and to offer them meaningful support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved) This is the first British-edited and -authored collection on lesbian and gay psychology. Leading names in the field discuss a broad range of concerns cutting across social, health, developmental, educational, clinical and counseling psychology. These include topics such as development during adolescence, girls' friendships, identity formation and disclosure, parenting and family issues, health issues, psychotherapy and social attitudes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLesbian and Gay Psychology: New Perspectives
Place of PublicationMalden, MA, US
PublisherBPS Blackwell
ISBN (Print)1-40510-221-7
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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