Sex Roles, Vol. 42, Nos. 1/2, 2000
Gender Role Differences in College Students from
One- and Two-Parent Families
and Anne Dopkins Stright
This study explores three aspects of gender roles: the person’s perceptions
of their own gender role, the person’s perceptions of socially idealized gender
roles, and the ﬁt between an individual’s gender role and their perception of
the ideal person’s gender role. Because parent–child relationships and gender
models and attitudes in one- and two-parent families may differ, the gender
roles of college students raised in one- versus two-parent families may differ.
Participants in one- and two-parent families were paired based on gender,
age, race, and family of origin’s current income. Forty-ﬁve pairs resulted (30
Caucasian, 12 African-American, and 3 Asian-American pairs). Twenty-one
of the pairs were lower middle class, 11 were middle class, and 13 were upper
middle class. Differences in gender roles were found. Males and females
raised in mother-headed one-parent families were more likely than males
and females raised in intact two-parent families to view their own gender
role in terms of traditionally masculine characteristics (independence, assert-
iveness, self-reliance, self-sufﬁciency, etc.) and to report a low level of tradi-
tionally feminine characteristics. In contrast, females in intact two-parent
families were more likely than females in mother-headed one-parent families
to view themselves as androgenous. No differences in idealized gender roles
were found between students raised in one- versus two-parent families; stu-
dents from both types of families perceived the ideal person as androgenous.
School of Education & Human Services, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN 47712.
Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington,
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael Slavkin, School of
Education and Human Services, University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Blvd.,
Evansville, IN 47712; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
0360-0025/00/0100-0023$18.00/0 2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation