Social motives and patterns of friendship

Dan P. McAdams*, Sheila Healy, Steven Krause

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


35 male and 70 female undergraduates described 10 friendship episodes--interactions with friends that lasted at least 15-20 min--that occurred in the previous 2 wks. They also listed strong points, weak points, and reasons for friendship for each of 5 friends who appeared in the reported friendship episodes. Intimacy and power motivation were assessed via scores from a previous administration of the TAT. Ss high in intimacy motivation reported (a) more dyadic friendship episodes, (b) more self-disclosure among friends, (c) more listening, and (d) more concern for the well-being of friends than did those low in intimacy motivation. Power motivation was associated with more large-group interactions (among males only) and purposeful, agentic striving in friendship episodes. In general, motivational differences tended to outweigh sex differences. Results are interpreted in terms of D. Bakan's (1966) conceptualization of agency and communion. (48 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-838
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1984


  • intimacy vs power motivation, patterns of friendship, male vs female college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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