Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 1–2, pp 25–37 | Cite as

Gender Role Development and Body Image among Male and Female First Year College Students

  • Meghan M. GillenEmail author
  • Eva S. Lefkowitz


In the current study we examined associations between gender role development and body image. Male and female first-semester college students (N = 434) who identified as African American, Latino/a American, and European American completed surveys about gendered personality traits (instrumentality/expressivity), gender role attitudes, and aspects of body image (e.g., satisfaction, orientation). Gendered traits were more frequently associated with body image than were gender role attitudes. In particular, individuals who were more instrumental and less inauthentic in their relationships felt more positive about their bodies. Gender role attitudes were also associated with body image, but sometimes in an unexpected direction. These findings highlight the importance of examining multiple components of gender role development and body image in both men and women.


Body image Gender roles College students 



We gratefully acknowledge Tanya Boone, Graciela Espinosa-Hernandez, Shelley Hosterman, Eric Loken, Lisa Meyer, Kristie Patton, Cindy Shearer, Lyndsey Sturm, and Amber Thompson for their help with study design, data scoring and entering, data cleaning, and statistical analyses. We also thank Susan McHale and Annie Rissman for their thoughtful comments on earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family Studies, S-110 Henderson BuildingThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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