Sex Roles

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 575-580

First online:

Psychological androgyny and college students' judgments of mental health

  • Jeanne Brooks-GunnAffiliated withEducational Testing Service and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
  • , Melanie FischAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania

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College students' perceptions of the mental health of men and women were examined in comparison to an adult health standard. Two hundred forty male and female undergraduates were asked to describe a socially competent healthy adult man, healthy adult woman, or a healthy adult (sex unspecified) using the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, which provides a measurement of androgyny as well as masculinity and femininity. In accordance with the Broverman, Broverman, Clarkson, Rosenkrantz, and Vogel (1970) study of clinicians' perceptions, the healthy man was described as similar to the adult standard, while the healthy woman was not. Unlike the Broverman et al. (1970) study, the male but not the female subjects perceived the healthy woman as different, suggesting that college women may be less likely to endorse sex-linked conceptions of mental health than their male counterparts.