, Volume 34, Issue 5-6, pp 419-428

Childhood tomboyism and adult androgyny

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Abstract

Female university and community college students (N =194) completed the Bem Sex-Role Inventory and a 12-item tomboyism index. Subjects were predominantly Euro-American (71%). A multiple regression analysis was used to test the prediction that androgyny and masculinity would significantly predict tomboyism scores. The proportion of variance in tomboyism accounted for by masculinity was significant, but once masculinity was entered, no additional predictive value was added by the entry of androgyny or femininity. Tomboyism was not related to the development of expressive qualities such as compassion and sensitivity to the needs of others. However, tomboyism was positively related to some desirable instrumental qualities such as assertiveness and self-reliance. Tomboyism was common and generally declined at puberty due to social pressure.

To whom correspondence and reprint requests should be addressed at Department of Psychology & Human Development, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407.
The second and third authors were senior undergraduates at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo when this research was conducted.