Sex Roles, Vol. 42, Nos. 7/8, 2000
Toward Theory Development and Measure
Evolution for Studying Women’s Relationships and
Sharon Rae Jenkins
University of North Texas
This commentary reviews and integrates selected empirical ﬁndings from this
special issue of Sex Roles on Gender, Power, and Women’s Relationships:
Implications for HIV. Then the effects of current deﬁnitions of certain social
science practices on theory development in these areas are considered. These
practices especially hamper cross-cultural theory and measure development.
New directions are proposed, centering on the relations between theory devel-
opment, measurement, and application in the context of cultural variations.
I conclude with a proposed strategy for local culture theory development.
This strategy localizes measurement of theoretical constructs to adapt the
theory to local cultural conditions, then localizes theory by indicating needed
adjustments to the structure of theoretical linkages.
The diverse perspectives of the papers in this issue provide an exciting
opportunity and challenge for theory development. The range of deﬁnitions
and measures, the racial/ethnic and cultural variety of participants, and the
differing research questions and empirical answers invite us to new synthe-
ses and fresh ideas. I hope here to move the discussion forward by describing
some integrations as I see them, highlighting some considerations for ad-
vancing theory development, and suggesting next steps.
This commentary begins with a review of selected empirical ﬁndings
contributed by the current authors. Then I consider the effects of current
deﬁnitions of certain social science practices on theory development in
these areas. I propose new directions, centering on the relations between
theory development, measurement, and application in the context of cul-
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychology, P.O. Box
311280, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203-1280.
0360-0025/00/0400-0751$18.00/0 2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation