here are two of my publications that sort of speak to the issue you raised.

This one argues that the typical approach of asking a respondent about an
alter's attitudes or behaviors is usually "generalized, estimated", and will
almost always be artificially positively correlated with the respondent's
own attitudes or behaviors.
Rice, R.E.  (1993). Using network concepts to clarify sources and mechanisms
of social influence.  In W. Richards, Jr., & G. Barnett (Eds.) Progress in
communication sciences: Advances in communication network analysis. (pp.
43-52.)  Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

And this empirically shows that.
Rice, R.E. & Aydin, C.  (1991).  Attitudes towards new organizational
technology: Network proximity as a mechanism for social information
processing.  Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 219-244.

Ronald E. Rice
Professor, Chair of Department of Communication
School of Communication, Information & Library Studies
Rutgers University
4 Huntington St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1071
w: 732-932-7500, ext. 8122; f: 732-932-6916
e: [log in to unmask];

----- Original Message -----
From: "Susan Watkins" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2002 8:38 AM
Subject: Best Friend

> Is there a literature on using a respondent's report about her/his best
> friend as a proxy for the respondent himself/herself, e.g. in cases where
> the question is presumably sensitive (e.g. abortion, sexual behavior)? If
> so, where is a good place to start?
> Susan Watkins