Affectionate communication is critical for the development and maintenance of personal relationships. However, affectionate behavior varies widely across relationships. While the limited extant research on affectionate communication has suggested variables that influence what affectionate expressions are typical in various relationships, no studies have looked specifically at what influences individuals' expectations for affectionate communication. The present study examines affectionate behavior in platonic friendships and individuals' perceptions of the appropriateness and importance of affection in such friendships. It hypothesizes that when levels of relational closeness are held constant, biological sex and the sex composition of the dyad will influence actual affectionate behavior, perceived affectionate behavior, the reported appropriateness of affectionate behaviors, and the intensity of the behaviors accounted for in each effect. Substantial support for the predictions was obtained.
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