Sex Roles

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 141–161 | Cite as

Aggression, sex role measures, and Kohut's psychology of the self

  • Steve M. Sawrie
  • P. J. Watson
  • Michael D. Biderman


Recent controversies concerning the relationship between aggression and sex role development were evaluated in light of Heinz Kohut's psychoanalytic psychology of the self. Masculinity roughly corresponded to grandiose elements of Kohut's bipolar self while femininity was linked to its idealizing sector. As predicted, self-reported aggressiveness reflected an immature grandiosity; and associations of assertiveness with both masculine and grandiose personality styles supported Kohut's claim that adjustment can evolve out of more aggressive forms of self-functioning. Socially desirable forms of femininity had the advantage of being incompatible with aggressiveness, but they also failed to promote assertiveness. Androgynous, masculine, feminine, and undifferentiated sex roles displayed largely predictable parallels with synthetic, internal, external, and archaic narcissistic styles. As in previous research, therefore, Kohut's theory proved useful in examining the mental health implications of traditional sex roles.


Mental Health Social Psychology Health Implication Aggressive Form Personality Style 
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 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve M. Sawrie
    • 1
  • P. J. Watson
    • 1
  • Michael D. Biderman
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Tennessee at ChattanoogaChattanooga

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