Fem ale and Male College Students
to Negative Feedback from Parents an d Peers
David C. Lu ndgren
an d Don ald J. Ru daws ky
We examine whether fem ale and m ale college students differ in their tendencies
to reject negative evalu ative feedback in transactions with parents and with
m ale an d fem ale peers. The predom in antly white respon den ts described
instances of negative feedback from each of fou r sources
(mother, father, fem ale peer, male peer), ratin g their relationsh ips with each
feedback sender (closeness, in teraction frequen cy), characteristic s of the
feedback itself (im portan ce, n egativity, directn ess), their own em otio n al
response (degree of negative affect), an d their rejection (vs. acceptan ce) of the
feedback. Participan ts also completed a global self-esteem m easure. Though
no sim ple direct effects of gender upon rejection of feedback were obtained,
wom en sh owed an overall pa ttern of greater rejection of feedback as a
consequ ence of several indirect effects. Wom en reported receiving feedback on
more important topics, an d greater importance of feedback was related to less
rejection. However, wom en also tended to receive more negative feedback from
others an d tend ed to respond with stronger negative feelings, both of th ese
variables bein g linked to greater rejection of feedback. The results ch allenge
various common assumption s in the gender roles literature.
Do young women and men respond similarly to negative feedback in actual
transactions with significant othe rs? Or do we find syste matic and mean-
ingful diffe re nce s as a function of gende r? Despite de cade s of re se arch on
the impact of social fe edback upon self-appraisals, a definitive answe r re-
mains elusive .
Sex Roles, Vol. 39, Nos. 5/6, 1998
1998 Plenum Publishing Corporation
We thank Dr. Lynn Ritchey for he r te chnical assistance throughout the re search and Dr.
Dana Vannoy for her he lpful input in preparing the final re port.
To whom corresponde nce shou ld be addressed at De partment of Psychology, P. O . Box
210376, University of Cincinnati, Cincin nati, OH 45221-0376. email: David.Lundgren@