Sex Roles

, Volume 49, Issue 1–2, pp 11–19 | Cite as

Caring, Gender Role Orientation, and Volunteering

  • Rachel KarniolEmail author
  • Efrat Grosz
  • Irit Schorr


The current studies were conducted to examine two questions regarding the development of an ethic of care versus an ethic of justice, where the former is associated with being female and the latter is associated with being male. First, does gender role orientation in adolescence predict the ethical orientation one adopts better than gender itself does? Second, does adolescents' ethical orientation predict their volunteering behavior? To answer these questions, two studies were conducted. In Study 1, adolescents completed Bem's Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) and Jensen's World View Questionnaire (WVQ) which assesses ethical orientation. Girls and individuals high in femininity were higher on the ethic of care than were boys and individuals high in masculinity. In addition, individuals with a feminine gender orientation received higher care scores than individuals with an androgynous orientation. Regression analyses indicated that gender orientation accounted for more of the variance in the ethic of care than did gender. In Study 2, older adolescents completed Jensen's WVQ and were subsequently asked to volunteer in one of two settings: a personal setting or an impersonal setting. Individuals high in the ethic of care were more likely to volunteer and volunteered for more hours, but volunteered equally often in the two types of settings. Individuals who “apologized” for being unable to volunteer were higher on caring. The results are discussed in the context of Gilligan's theory of socialization to morality.

gender caring morality 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityRamat AvivIsrael

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