Sex Roles

, Volume 26, Issue 11–12, pp 465–483

The effect of agency and communality on self-esteem: Gender differences in longitudinal data

  • Judith A. Stein
  • Michael D. Newcomb
  • P. M. Bentler
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00289869

Cite this article as:
Stein, J.A., Newcomb, M.D. & Bentler, P.M. Sex Roles (1992) 26: 465. doi:10.1007/BF00289869

Abstract

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.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith A. Stein
    • 1
  • Michael D. Newcomb
    • 2
  • P. M. Bentler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.University of Southern CaliforniaUSA

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