Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education

Major Professor

Dr. Roxane L. Dufrene

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Herlihy

Third Advisor

Dr. Zarus Watson


Differences between female and male same-sex friendships have been the subject of numerous studies. Additionally, male same-sex friendships have been studied independent of the differences related to female same-sex friendships. Despite these studies, a comprehensive, agreed on definition of male friendship remains unclear or ill-defined. The manner in which men perceive, express and experience same-sex friendships can be viewed as learned behaviors based on gender schema and sex typing. Men’s friendships, as viewed through the gender schema theory, are shaped through the association of gender based male identity and male behaviors. This phenomenological study investigated male perceptions of same-sex male friendships. The broad research question for my study was how do men experience friendship? Through interviews with eight men, data were collected, analyzed by each case that produced a total of 52 themes for all participants, and then a cross-case analysis produced nine super-ordinate themes. The resultant super-ordinate themes were the basis for responding to the main research question and five specific research questions. Findings from my study allowed for the identification of specific components important to the participants regarding their friendships. A second finding was related to social expectations of participants’ friendships. Implications of my study revealed that although men are generally assumed resistant to counseling, they look upon counseling favorably. For counselors and counselor educators, a better understanding of the way men experience friendship could ultimately be a resource for better practice in the way men are attracted to and perceive the counseling practice.


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