Sex Roles [sers] pp827-sers-464347 April 11, 2003 19:50 Style ﬁle version June 3rd, 2002
Sex Roles, Vol. 48, Nos. 9/10, May 2003 (
The Effects of Same-Sex and Other-Sex Contexts
on Masculinity and Femininity
and JoNell Strough
The study addressed whether or not masculinity and femininity as indexed by state mea-
sures of gender-typed behaviors changed when participants worked with a same-sex or other-
sex peer. In a within-subjects design, 80 college students (40 women and 40 men, M age =
19.5 years, SD = 2.10) worked with a man and a woman confederate on a collaborative task.
State masculinity and femininity measures were created from existing trait measures (Bem,
1974; Boldizar, 1991). Men and women reported greater state femininity when working with
an other-sex partner than when working with a same-sex partner. State masculinity did not
vary as a function of same-sex and other-sex contexts. Implications of these ﬁndings for under-
standing how social interactions contribute to the construction of masculinity and femininity
KEY WORDS: gender; masculinity; femininity; context.
Within the ﬁelds of developmental psychology
and social psychology, researchers who adopt a social
constructionist view of gender emphasize how gender
stereotypical behaviors are contextually speciﬁc (e.g.,
Deaux & Major, 1987; Leaper, 1991; Maccoby, 1990).
Social constructionists conceptualize gender-typed
behaviors as emerging from the intersection of the in-
dividual and the immediate context, rather than only
from individuals’ personality traits or socialization.
In the current study, we investigated how men’s and
women’s masculinity and femininity varied according
to aspects of the immediate social context. The social
contexts we investigated were same-sex and other-sex
peer interactions during a collaborative task.
The use of the terms “gender” and “sex” varies
throughout the psychological literature. Often the
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the meeting of
the Society for the Study of Human Development, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, October 2001.
West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of
Psychology, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6040, Morgantown,
West Virginia 26506-6040; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
terms “gender” and “sex” are used interchangeably
to refer to the same construct (e.g., Leaper, 1991;
Maccoby, 1990). We use the term “sex” when re-
ferring speciﬁcally to biological sex. In accord with
Strough, Berg, and Sansone (1996), “sex” is also used
to denote contexts that were comprised of either two
men or two women (same-sex) or a man and a woman
(other-sex), whereas the term “gender” is used to de-
scribe differences and similarities between men and
women that may reﬂect their socialization. In accord
with Anselmi and Law (1998), “gender” is also used
when referring to behaviors that vary by context. The
term “gender-typed behaviors” is used when refer-
ring to masculinity and femininity. Traits that have
been stereotypically associated with masculinity in-
clude assertiveness, competitiveness, independence,
and dominance; traits that have been stereotypically
associated with femininity are expressiveness, sympa-
thy, and understanding (Ruble & Martin, 1998). The
traits associated with masculinity and femininity are
human qualities, therefore, both men and women en-
gage in behaviors that are considered “masculine” or
“feminine.” That is, masculinity and femininity may
vary within an individual regardless of the person’s
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation