Sex Roles

, Volume 53, Issue 11–12, pp 795–806 | Cite as

The Gender of Status: The Laypersons' Perception of Status Groups Is Gender-Typed

  • Constantina Giannopoulos
  • Michael Conway
  • Morris Mendelson


Studies addressed the hypothesis that people perceive lower status individuals as more feminine- than masculine-typed, and higher status individuals as more masculine- than feminine-typed, even when the feminine and masculine descriptors are equated in terms of their potency, evaluation, or activity; the latter are underlying dimensions of meaning (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957), and potency and activity are linked to status. Participants were presented the minimal status instantiation of Conway, Pizzamiglio, and Mount (1996) and rated low- and high-status individuals in terms of Adjective Check List (Gough & Heilbrun, 1980) descriptors. The expected status × gender-typing interactions emerged in Study 1 for the negative low-potency indices for male and female participants, and for the positive low-potency indices for female participants alone. Similarly, the status × gender-typing interactions emerged in Study 2 for the low-potency indices, for both low and high activity. Contrary to expectation, high-potency terms were generally attributed to high-status individuals. The findings indicated that status seems to be gendered beyond the correspondence observed in prior research between status and gender for the dimensions of potency and activity.

Key Words

gender status potency activity evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constantina Giannopoulos
    • 1
  • Michael Conway
    • 1
    • 3
  • Morris Mendelson
    • 2
  1. 1.Concordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.University of New BrunswickSaint JohnCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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