Sex Roles, Vol. 53, Nos. 3/4, August 2005 (
Ethnicity, Acculturation, and Religiosity as Predictors
of Female College Students’ Role Expectations
M. Elizabeth Lewis Hall,
Tamara L. Anderson,
and Michele M. Willingham
The present study was designed to examine ethnicity, acculturation, and religiosity as predic-
tors of European American and Korean American evangelical female college students’ role
expectations. Fifty-seven European American and 37 Korean American single women, who
ranged in age from 17 to 24 years, completed a demographic questionnaire, a role expecta-
tion measure, three religiosity measures, and an acculturation measure. The results indicated
a signiﬁcant negative correlation between fundamentalism and role-sharing expectations for
European American women and a signiﬁcant positive correlation between level of accultur-
ation and role-sharing expectations for Korean American women. The results suggest that
fundamentalism is a stronger predictor of role expectations than religious commitment in
European American women and that acculturation is a more accurate predictor of role ex-
pectations than generation in the United States among Korean American women.
KEY WORDS: gender roles; acculturation; religiosity; ethnicity.
Gender roles are socially constructed; there-
fore, standards and expectations of gender roles dif-
fer from culture to culture. Cultural forces operate
among ethnic groups as well as within smaller subcul-
tures/groups to generate particular norms and gender
role expectations. Moreover, in a multiethnic culture
such as the United States, variations within ethnic
groups exist due to immigrants’ level of accultura-
tion. Thus, gender roles are inﬂuenced by multiple
sources across culture and time, and they cannot be
understood outside the context of particular ethnici-
ties, societies, and social settings (Ferdman, 1999).
Researchers have considered various predic-
tors of gender role expectations. Among the exam-
ined variables (i.e., race, ethnicity, education, fam-
ily income, father’s education, mother’s education
and employment status, length of mother’s employ-
ment, region of the country, and degree of reli-
Biola University, La Mirada, California.
Hope International University, California.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Rosemead
School of Psychology, Biola University, La Mirada, California
90639; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
giosity), mother’s work history (Bridges & Etaugh,
1996; Tsuzuki & Matsui, 1997; Willetts-Bloom &
Nock, 1994), religiosity (Etaugh, 1989; Morgan,
1987; Willetts-Bloom & Nock, 1994), and ethnicity
(Bridges & Etaugh, 1996; Etaugh, 1989) have been
shown to be strong predictors of college students’ ex-
pectation of their own marital and maternal roles,
particularly in relation to employment.
The signiﬁcant ﬁndings of ethnicity and religios-
ity are consistent with the theoretical understand-
ing of how cultural norms of the broader ethnic
group as well as the subgroup impact gender role
expectations. However, studies of different ethnici-
ties have predominantly focused on comparisons of
European Americans, African Americans, and His-
panics, which has limited our understanding of eth-
nic differences that exist in a multiethnic setting such
as the United States. In the few existing studies
of Korean Americans (Kim, 1998; Lim, 1997; Min,
1997; Moon & Song, 1998) traditional gender role
practices prevail despite the equal labor participa-
tion of Korean American women and men. How-
ever, younger Korean American women with higher
2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.