The present study was designed to examine the evidence for Bem’s (1981) proposal that strong identification with gender (felt typicality, felt contentedness, felt pressure) promotes restrictive gender-typing (i.e., a preoccupied relationship style for girls; avoidant relationship style for boys). Per a dimension-specific model, I hypothesized that felt typicality and felt contentedness discourage negative gender-atypical attributes, whereas felt pressure encourages gender-typical attributes and discourages gender-atypical ones, without regard for the valence of the attribute. Early adolescents (N = 144, 73 girls, 71 boys) in southeast England responded to self-report measures of gender identity and relationship styles towards the mother and a close friend twice; first in the Spring of the school year (M age = 12.75 years at Time 1; Time 1 data are partly derived from Menon 2011) and again in the Fall of the next school year. In support of the dimension-specific model, felt typicality and felt contentedness were negatively associated with gender-atypical relationship styles, and felt pressure was positively associated with gender-typical styles at each time-point. Longitudinal associations showed that gender-atypical styles prospectively predicted lower felt typicality and contentedness over time. Further, girls with a gender-atypical avoidant style towards their mother increased in their discontentment with gender over time, but only when they also reported strong felt pressure for gender conformity. Results indicate that gender self-socialization is an important basis for identity development in adolescence.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 10, 2016
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