Sex Roles

, Volume 63, Issue 3–4, pp 251–263 | Cite as

Gender Segregation and Gender-Typing in Adolescence

  • Clare M. Mehta
  • JoNell Strough
Original Article


We investigated correlates of gender segregation among adolescent (15–17 yrs) boys (N = 60) and girls (N = 85) from the Mid-Atlantic United States. Seventy-two percent of peers nominated for “hanging out” were the same gender as the adolescent. Girls’ gender segregation was correlated with gender reference-group identity and believing girls are more responsive communicative partners than boys. Girls were more likely to endorse feminine, expressive traits, a cooperative activity orientation, and to believe in the greater communicative responsiveness of same- vs. other-gender peers. Boys and girls were equally likely to endorse masculine, instrumental traits, competitive activity orientations, and to identify same-gender others as a reference group. We consider implications of the developmental persistence of gender segregation for gender-typing.


Gender segregation Gender-typing Adolescence Peer relationships Friendships 



Clare M. Mehta and JoNell Strough, Department of Psychology, West Virginia University.

Clare M. Mehta is now at Division for Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital/ Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

This research was supported by a graduate student research grant from the West Virginia University Department of Psychology Alumni Fund, and by the Velma Miller Award, a graduate student research grant from West Virginia University Department of Women’s Studies.

The authors thank Katherine Karraker and Kevin Larkin for their contributions as members of the master’s thesis committee on which this article is based, Brian Ayotte, Emily Keener, Ashley Kendall, and Lydia Shrier for their comments on prior versions of this article, and Erin Groves & Kristin Nicewarner for their assistance in conducting the study.

This article is based on a master’s thesis conducted by Clare Mehta under the supervision of JoNell Strough and submitted to the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master of science degree in life-span developmental psychology. An earlier version of this article was presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Pittsburgh, PA, 2009.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital, Boston/Harvard Medical School Division of Adolescent MedicineBostonUSA

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