Sex Roles, Vol. 42, Nos. 9/10, 2000
When Situations Call for Instrumentality and
Expressiveness: Resource Appraisal, Coping
Strategy Choice, and Adjustment
Jayne E. Stake
University of Missouri—St. Louis
The coping model of Holahan and Moos (1987) served as a framework
for examining associations among resource appraisals, gender-role coping
strategy choices, and adjustment in situations having salient social expecta-
tions for expressiveness and instrumentality (i.e., dual-expectation situations).
Participants were 70 male and 124 female undergraduates. Appraisals of
setting-speciﬁc social support availability and self-esteem were related to
coping strategy choices. Androgynous copers had higher social support ap-
praisals than instrumental or indeterminate copers and higher self-appraisals
than indeterminate copers. Androgynous coping was (a) positively related
to well-being at all levels of resource appraisals and (b) negatively related to
stress at moderate and low levels of social support and all levels of self-esteem.
Theorists of human dual motivation and functioning have posited two
essential aspects of the self—the instrumental/agentic self and the
expressive/communal self (Angyal, 1965; Bakan, 1966; Guisinger & Blatt,
1994). Instrumentality refers to the striving for independence, mastery, task
accomplishment, and self-assertiveness and is traditionally associated with
the masculine role. Expressiveness pertains to connectedness with others
and encompasses interpersonal cooperativeness, sensitivity to others’ needs,
and emotional openness; expressiveness has been traditionally associated
with the feminine role. Bem (1978) proposed that the ability to display
both instrumentality and expressiveness as appropriate to situations (i.e.,
The following research assistants are acknowledged for their excellent work as interviewers:
Matthew Daniels, Brian Edmiston, Kathleen Gannon, Wendy Kew, Rachel Nunnalee, Laura
Roberts, Kris Sager, Mary Schmidt, Megg Withinton, and Melanie Woolsey.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychology, University of
Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri 63121.
0360-0025/00/0500-0865$18.00/0 2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation