The effect of agency and communality on self-esteem: Gender differences in longitudinal data
- Cite this article as:
- Stein, J.A., Newcomb, M.D. & Bentler, P.M. Sex Roles (1992) 26: 465. doi:10.1007/BF00289869
Prior studies have noted a positive relationship between masculinity (M) and self-esteem (S-E) for both males and females. However, during adolescence, males and females have been described as experiencing a divergence into two domains: agency for males and communality for females. The present study hypothesized that, contrary to the cross-sectional positive correlational relationship between M and S-E for both males and females, an agentic orientation during adolescence would predict heightened S-E at young adulthood for males only. Conversely, a communal orientation was hypothesized to predict heightened S-E for females only at young adulthood. Using structural equation models with latent variables to analyze data from a community sample of 654 subjects (M=192, F=462; White=432; Black=97; Hispanic=64; Asian=61), these hypotheses were confirmed. In addition, as found in typical masculinity-femininity (M-F) studies, both males and females evidenced a positive relationship between S-E and M, as measured on the Personal Attributes Questionnaire and essentially no relationship between F and S-E. Possible reasons for this complexity and implications for future research are discussed.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.