Sex Roles

, Volume 10, Issue 5–6, pp 445–456 | Cite as

A status theory of the evaluation of sex-role and age-role behavior

  • Saul Feinman


An earlier investigation formulated a status theory of behavioral choice evaluation to explain the lesser approval for cross-sex-role behavior of males than of females. Since males are often assigned higher prestige, their deviation from male to female behavior represents a movement from higher to lower status, resulting in a loss of approval. To determine that the fit of previous data with the theory was indeed due to the status characteristic of sex roles, the current study used the theory to predict the evaluations of appropriate and cross-role behavior concerning age roles as well as sex roles. Furthermore, the effect of status upon evaluation was hypothesized to reside in the association of status with social value and, in turn, the effect of social value upon evaluation. Subjects were 57 male and 40 female university students who provided approval ratings of either appropriate or cross-age-role and sex-role behavior. For sex and age, cross-role behavior received less approval for the higher status actor. This indicated that the lesser approval of cross-sex-role behavior of males was due to the differential status ranking of male and female roles, rather than to some other feature more specific to sex roles. The proposition that social value is the explanatory link in the effect of status upon evaluation is supported by the results.


Status Theory Status Characteristic High Status Lower Status Choice Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saul Feinman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WyomingLaramie

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