, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 59-73

Gender-role identity and psychological adjustment in adolescence

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Abstract

The relationship between gender-role identity (traditional, androgynous, cross-gender, and undifferentiated) and psychological adjustment among adolescents was examined. Hypotheses were derived from theories of gender-role identity development. One hundred and three high school students completed a measure of gender-role identity (the Bem Sex-Role Inventory) and four measures of adjustment (three Offer Self-Image scales and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale). Findings indicate that traditional, androgynous, and cross-gender identities are each associated with some aspect of superior adjustment. Undifferentiated adolescents are poorly adjusted. When the independent contribution of masculinity, femininity, and gender-role identity to adjustment was assessed, masculinity and femininity had greater predictive power than gender-role identity. The relationship of findings to gender-role identity development is discussed.

This paper was written while the author was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Mental Health Research Program in Sociology and Psychiatry at Duke University Medical School. Support for this work was provided by NIMH Grant MH14670-01.
Received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Colorado. Major research interest is personality development across the life-span, particularly the development of gender-role identity in adolescence and adulthood.