This study was designed to examine the influence of sex and gender role orientation on adoption of the ethic of care and on postconventional reasoning in married men and women, with and without children. Parental status was unrelated to gender role orientation in men but was associated with masculinity in women, such that women with children had lower masculinity scores. Adoption of an ethic of care in men was a function of gender role orientation, such that only androgynous men did not evidence lower caring scores when they had children. Caring scores in women were a function of both parental status and masculinity, such that women with children who were high in masculinity evidenced lower caring scores. Postconventional reasoning as assessed by P scores on three dilemmas from the Defining Issues Test (DIT) were only influenced by sex and age but not by gender role orientation. Postconventional reasoning as assessed by ratings of all postconventional statements (R scores) was influenced by both sex and gender role orientation; in men, masculinity and femininity interacted such that androgynous and undifferentiated men evidenced higher R scores when they had no children, but only androgynous men with children evidenced high R scores. In women, gender role orientation did not impact R scores and neither did parental status. Multiple regressions indicated that for women, the interaction of masculinity and femininity, and caring scores, accounted for a significant amount of the variance in R scores. In men, none of the variables entered the equation. The implications for both Gilligan’s and Bem’s theories are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 28, 2007
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