Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 253–267 | Cite as

Effects of Physical Appearance on Masculine Trait Ratings of Boys and Girls with Gender Identity Disorder

  • Stephanie A. Mcdermid
  • Kenneth J. Zucker
  • Susan J. Bradley
  • Dianne M. Maing


University students, masked to group status, rated the physical appearance of boys and girls with gender identity disorder (GID) and same-sexcontrols using traits with stereotypical masculine connotations (for boys: all-boy, handsome, masculine, and rugged; for girls: handsome, masculine, rugged, and tomboyish). Three traits (all-boy, masculine, and rugged) were judged to be significantly less characteristic of the boys with GID as compared to the same-sex controls; for the fourth trait (handsome), the inverse result was obtained. All four traits (handsome, masculine, rugged, and tomboyish) were judged to be significantly more characteristic of the girls with GID as compared to the same-sex normal and/or clinical controls. These results were the inverse of the results obtained in two previous experiments, in which traits with stereotypical feminine connotations were used (Fridell et al., 1996; Zucker et al., 1993). Taken together, the results suggest that boys and girls with GID have a sex-typed physical appearance that distinguishes them from same-sex controls. Possible determinants of these differences are discussed.



Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alley, T. R., and Hildebrandt, K. A. (1988). Determinants and consequences of facial aesthetics. In T. R. Alley (ed.), Social and Applied Aspects of Perceiving Faces, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 101-140.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., APA, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., rev., APA, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  4. Beitchman, J. H., Zucker, K. J., Hood, J. E., daCosta, G. A., and Akman, D. (1991). A review of the short-term effects of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse Neglect 15: 537-556.Google Scholar
  5. Fridell, S. R., Zucker, K. J., Bradley, S. J., and Maing, D. M. (1996). Physical attractiveness of girls with gender identity disorder. Arch. Sex. Behav. 25: 17-31.Google Scholar
  6. Glass, G. V., McGaw, B., and Smith, M. L. (1981). Meta-Analysis in Social Research, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  7. Green, R. (1974). Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Green, R. (1987). The “Sissy Boy Syndrome” and the Development of Homosexuality, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  9. Hildebrandt, K. A., and Fitzgerald, H. E. (1979). Facial feature determinants of perceived infant attractiveness. Infant Behav. Dev. 2: 329-339.Google Scholar
  10. Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four factor index of social status. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Sociology, Yale University, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  11. Intons-Peterson, M. J. (1988). Children's Concepts of Gender, Ablex, Norwood, NJ.Google Scholar
  12. Jackson, L. A. (1992). Physical Appearance and Gender: Sociobiological and Sociocultural Perspectives. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY.Google Scholar
  13. Katcher, A. (1955). The discrimination of sex differences by young children. J. Genet. Psychol. 87: 131-143.Google Scholar
  14. Leinbach, M. D., and Fagot, B. I. (1986). Acquisition of gender labels: A test for toddlers. Sex Roles 15: 655-666.Google Scholar
  15. Maing, D. M. (1991). Patterns of psychopathology in sexually abused girls. Unpublished doctoral dissertation , University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario.Google Scholar
  16. Onions, C. T. (ed.). (1977). The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. 2, Clarendon Press, Oxford, England.Google Scholar
  17. Paoletti, J. B. (1983). Clothes make the boy, 1860-1920. Dress 9: 16-20.Google Scholar
  18. Paoletti, J. B. (1987). Clothing and gender in America: Children's fashions, 1890-1920. Signs 13: 136-143.Google Scholar
  19. Roberts, C. W., Green, R., Williams, K., and Goodman, M. (1987). Boyhood gender identity development: A statistical contrast of two family groups. Dev. Psychol. 23: 544-557.Google Scholar
  20. Shakin, M., Shakin, D., and Sternglanz, S. H. (1985). Infant clothing: Sex labeling for strangers. Sex Roles 12: 955-964.Google Scholar
  21. Stoller, R. J. (1968). Sex and Gender. Vol. 1. The Development of Masculinity and Femininity, Science House, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Stoller, R. J. (1972). Etiological factors in female transsexualism: A first approximation. Arch. Sex. Behav. 2: 47-64.Google Scholar
  23. Stoller, R. J. (1975). Sex and Gender: Vol. 2. The Transsexual Experiment, Hogarth, London.Google Scholar
  24. Zucker, K. J., and Bradley, S. J. (1995). Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents, Guilford, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Zucker, K. J., Wild, J., Bradley, S. J., and Lowry, C. B. (1993). Physical attractiveness of boys with gender identity disorder. Arch. Sex. Behav. 22: 23-36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie A. Mcdermid
  • Kenneth J. Zucker
  • Susan J. Bradley
  • Dianne M. Maing

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations