The term reference group can refer to any group that influences the attitude
and behavior of individuals. The theory is often used to describe two major types of relationships between individuals and groups which are known as "normative" reference group behavior and "comparative" reference group behavior. "Normative" reference group theory is also known as a guide for individuals' behavior, since it provides a guideline for people's behavior. Moreover, "comparative" reference groups give individuals a basis for comparing themselves or their group with other individuals or groups and yet influence individuals' feelings and behavior. When objective standards for behavior, opinions, or emotions are unavailable, people look up to others for reference or comparison. Therefore, reference/comparison groups serve two functions; firstly they provide normative guidance and secondly they offer standards for self-evaluation and comparison. Sociologists tend to apply the notions of reference/ comparison group when they are useful or seem appropriate, often in post hoc studies. Most of the research, which specifies to which groups an individual will refer, the directions in which comparisons are made and the conditions under which comparisons occur, has been conducted in the field of psychology, partly because selective comparisons are considered as important coping strategies. The purpose of this article is to analyze the attitude of the youth towards reference groups, to indicate the effective factors and to determine gender differences in Sanandaj city of Kurdistan Province. The study is conducted during the year 2009 and the research method consists of descriptive survey. Interviews with young people in the form of 267 questionnaires (including 309 boys and 318 girls) are conducted by multistage cluster sampling proportionate to size. A panel of experts assess the validity of the research and thus determine its reliability by Cronbach's Alpha (0.82) and Test- retest. The statistical methods utilized in the research include correlation analysis, factor analysis and regression analysis. Having specified details of the nature of reference groups, attitude towards reference group (including Professors, Peer group, Parents, Religious figures, Artists, Actors, Teachers, Professors, sportsmen, Policy makers) is examined between boys and girls. Results of the study show that girls demonstrate higher tendency and a more positive attitude towards professors, parents and students and thus there's a significant difference in this aspect as compared with boys. However, while boys opt for professors, peer group and university students as their source of reference, they show lower attitude towards them. Percentage frequency distribution and comparison of mean indicate that girls have a more positive attitude towards membership reference groups (MRG) while boys have significantly greater level of positive attitude towards non-membership reference groups than girls. The results of the statistical method indicate that four factors (including performance assessment of socialization agents (MTM1), social participation characteristics, subjective norms and subjective esteem acquiring) explain 73% of the total variation of attitude towards MRG, with respect to their relative significance.