Sex Roles

, Volume 76, Issue 11–12, pp 694–704 | Cite as

Associations Between Gender Segregation and Gender Identity in College Students

  • Clare M. Mehta
  • Mahzad Hojjat
  • Kelly R. Smith
  • Brian J. Ayotte
Original Article


We investigated associations between gender segregation and the two traditions of gender identity identified by Wood and Eagly (2015): gender-typed personality traits and gender reference group identity. We also investigated whether one of these traditions was associated with gender segregation to a greater extent than the other. Our sample consisted of 73 male (and 93 female undergraduate students aged 18–24 attending a university in the northeastern United States of America. In support of our hypotheses we found that male and female college students reported a greater proportion of same-gender than cross-gender friends and that gender segregation was negatively associated with femininity for male college students and positively associated with gender reference group identity for male and female college students. In addition, as hypothesized, we found that gender reference group identity was associated with gender segregation to a greater extent than gender-typed personality traits. That gender segregation is associated with gender reference group identity to a greater extent than gender-typed personality traits supports a multifaceted model of gender, and it highlights the importance of considering different traditions of gender identity in gender research (Mehta 2015; Wood and Eagly 2015).


Gender segregation Sex Segregation Emerging adults Friendships Gender identity Femininity Masculinity Cross-sex friendships 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This manuscript is not under review at another journal and has not been published elsewhere. IRB approval was granted for this study. Data was collected in accordance with APA ethical guidelines.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare M. Mehta
    • 1
  • Mahzad Hojjat
    • 2
  • Kelly R. Smith
    • 3
  • Brian J. Ayotte
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Emmanuel College and Division of Adolescent MedicineBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts, DartmouthDartmouthUSA
  3. 3.Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation CenterBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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