Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The investigation was designed to explore the relationship between attitude dissimilarity and strength of friendship. It was hypothesized that those who perceived their acquaintance as being high in Stimulation Value (SV) would perceive their acquaintance as more dissimilar from themselves than those perceiving their acquaintance as low in Stimulation Value. Since it was felt that SV is part of Total Friendship, it was predicted that those who had estimated that a strong friendship existed between themselves and their acquaintance would perceive their acquaintance as being less attitudinally similar to- themselves than the pairs who scored low on Total Friendship.

Eighteen pairs of students who had known each other for at least six months were administered an Attitude Questionnaire and then readministered the same questionnaire and asked to complete it as they felt their acquaintance had. Finally, they were administered Wright's Acquaintance Description Form (ADF). Scores on the ADF were then computed for Total Friendship (TF) and Stimulation Value (SV). An analysis of the Attitude Questionnaire yielded scores for each individual on how accurately he perceived his acquaintance's attitudes (accuracy of perception), on perceived dissimilarity and the degree of actual attitude dissimilarity. The data were analyzed in two ways. First, attitude dissimilarity was viewed as a function of TF or SV and strength of attitude. Secondly, TF was viewed as the dependent variable with attitude dissimilarity and attitude strength as the independent variables.

The results suggest that people seek consensual validation for their strongly held attitudes but, at the same time, are attracted to those who are stimulating, as reflected by dissimilarity on weakly held attitudes. It was also concluded that those who see their friendship as strong need less consensual validation from their acquaintance and seek out more stimulation than those who perceive the relationship as weak.