Sex Roles

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 841-864

First online:

The relationship between instrumental and expressive traits, health behaviors, and perceived physical health

  • Kim ShifrenAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Robert L. BausermanAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan

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Relations between instrumental and expressive traits, health behaviors, and self-reported physical health were examined among young adults. Individuals (169 men, 167 women) completed two measures of instrumental and expressive traits, the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ). Ethnic background of the sample included 72% European Americans, 13% Latin Americans, 6% Asian Americans, 5% African Americans, less than 1% Native American, and 4% did not specify a particular category. Expressive traits from the BSRI, and expressive and instrumental traits from the PAQ were associated with health behaviors, after controlling for neuroticism. Neuroticism explained 43% of the variance in perceived physical health. Separation of individuals into four groups on the basis of instrumental and expressive traits showed that androgynous individuals reported significantly better health practices than other individuals providing support for the androgyny model.