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Katherine Bonafide, Ph.D., Kaitlin Flannery, Ph.D.
Sexual health communication has been linked to sexual health practices. Such research on communication typically studies parent-child relationships. Therefore, this study sought to test whether friendship length and friendship quality are correlated with comfort level talking about sex among same-gender and cross-gender friends. We surveyed 187 young-adults (Mage=20.10, SD=1.34; 49.2% female; 75% White). Results indicated that there is a significant positive relationship between quality of friendship and comfort level (r(184)=.39, p<.001). However, there wasn’t a significant relationship between length of friendship and comfort level (r(184)=.101, p=.169). When looking at the results in cross-gender friends, women showed a significant positive correlation between friendship quality and comfort level (r(19)=.512, p=.018), while men did not (r(19)=.150, p=.528). These results indicate that there may be a difference in comfort when discussing sexual health topics across genders.
Cross-gender friendships, sexual health communication