Sex Roles

, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 412–424

Competitiveness, Gender, and Adjustment Among Adolescents

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-010-9809-z

Cite this article as:
Hibbard, D.R. & Buhrmester, D. Sex Roles (2010) 63: 412. doi:10.1007/s11199-010-9809-z


This study explored whether trait competitiveness in late adolescence is more detrimental to females’ than males’ social and psychological adjustment. Two types of competitiveness were studied, competing to win (CW; to dominate others) and competing to excel (CE; to surpass personal goals). Questionnaire ratings (by self and others) of 110 (53 females, 57 males, Mage 17.9 years) predominantly Caucasian (88.9%) high school students in northern Texas, USA were gathered. Males were higher on CW than females, but there were no gender differences on CE. For females, CW was associated with greater depression and loneliness, and with fewer and less close friendships. CE was associated with higher self-esteem and less depression for both genders, but was largely unrelated to social adjustment.


CompetitivenessGender differencesLate adolescence

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentCalifornia State University, ChicoChicoUSA
  2. 2.School of Behavioral and Brain SciencesUniversity of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA