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, assertiveness, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, etc.) and to report a low level of traditionally 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; students from both types of families perceived the ideal person as androgenous.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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