Document Type


Publication Date



The present study explores how close same-sex friendship groups participate in the co-construction of identities in the interpersonal domain during young adulthood. Participants included 24 same-sex college student friendship triads (12 male and 12 female; 72 total participants) who took part in semi-structured group interviews that elicited stories about conversations with their friends about dating relationship problems. Qualitative thematic analysis revealed five common responses to dating problems evidencing identity work in the context of friends' conversations. These responses included relating the issue to one's own experiences, providing validation and encouragement, joking about the problem, offering advice, and providing concrete instrumental support. Results are interpreted with regard to gender differences and similarities as well as the social context of college and developmental context of emerging adulthood. The findings identify ways in which young adults are actively co-constructing and re-evaluating their interpersonal identities within conversations with close same-sex friends.

Copyright Statement

NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work accepted for publication by Elsevier. Changes resulting from the publishing process, including peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting and other quality control mechanisms, may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. The definitive version has been published in Journal of Adolescence, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.09.005