Sex Roles

, Volume 50, Issue 9–10, pp 689–697

Biological Sex and Psychological Gender as Predictors of Routine and Strategic Relational Maintenance

  • Brooks Aylor
  • Marianne Dainton

Abstract

The current study contributes to 2 growing areas of research: one distinguishes between routine and strategic relational maintenance behaviors, and the other concerns the relative utility of biological sex and psychological gender as predictors of communication behaviors. Specifically, we sought to uncover sex and gender differences in routine and strategic maintenance and to test the relative strength of each as predictors of routine and strategic maintenance. Survey data were collected from 189 individuals in romantic relationships. Results indicated only one sex difference; women use routine openness more than men do. However, femininity was positively associated with the routine use of advice, conflict management, and openness. Masculinity was positively associated with the strategic use of openness and tasks. Femininity was not associated with strategic maintenance, and masculinity was not associated with routine maintenance. The value of distinguishing between sex and gender to explain how individuals function in relationships is discussed.

relational maintenance strategic routine gender roles 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

references

  1. Aylor, B., & Dainton, M. (2001). Antecedents in romantic jealousy experience, expression, and goals. Western Journal of Communication, 65, 370-391.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, W. C., Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. S. (1987). Relation of sex and gender role to love, sexual attitudes, and self-esteem. Sex Roles, 16, 637-648.Google Scholar
  3. Ballard-Reisch, D., & Elton, M. (1992). Gender orientation and the Bem Sex Role Inventory: A psychological construct revisited. Sex Roles, 27, 291-306.Google Scholar
  4. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45, 195-205.Google Scholar
  5. Bem, S. L. (1977). On the utility of alternative procedures of assessing psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45, 196-205.Google Scholar
  6. Blanchard-Fields, F., Suhrer-Roussel, L., & Hertzog, C. (1994). A confirmatory factor analysis of the Bem Sex Role Inventory: Old questions, new answers. Sex Roles, 30, 423-457.Google Scholar
  7. Bock, R. D. (1975). Multivariate statistical methods in behavioral research. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Campbell, T., Gillaspy, J. A., & Thompson, B. (1997). The factor structure of the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI): Confirmatory analysis of long and short forms. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 57, 118-124.Google Scholar
  9. Canary, D. J., & Hause, K. S. (1993). Is there any reason to study sex differences in communication? Communication Quarterly, 41, 129-144.Google Scholar
  10. Canary, D. J., & Stafford, L. (1992). Relational maintenance strategies and equity in marriage. Communication Monographs, 59, 243-267.Google Scholar
  11. Canary, D. J., & Stafford, L. (1994). Maintaining relationships through strategic and routine interaction. In D. J. Canary & L. Stafford (Eds.), Communication and relational maintenance (pp. 6-23). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1975). Applied multiple regression/correlation analyses for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Coleman, M., & Ganong, L. H. (1985). Love and sex-role stereotypes: Do macho men and feminine women make better lovers? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 170-176.Google Scholar
  14. Dainton, M. (2003). Definitions and perspectives on relational maintenance communication. In D. Canary & M. Dainton (Eds.), Maintaining relationships through communication: Relational, contextual, and cultural variations (pp. 1-30). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Dainton, M., & Aylor, B. (2002). Routine and strategic maintenance efforts: Behavioral patterns, variations associated with relational length, and the prediction of relational characteristics. Communication Monographs, 69, 52-66.Google Scholar
  16. Dainton, M., & Stafford, L. (1993). Routine maintenance behaviors: A comparison of relationship type, partner similarity, and sex differences. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, 255-272.Google Scholar
  17. Dainton, M., & Stafford, L. (2000). Predicting maintenance enactment from relational schemata, spousal behavior, and relational characteristics. Communication Research Reports, 17, 171-180.Google Scholar
  18. Deaux, K., & Major, B. (1987). Putting gender into context: An interactive model of gender-related behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 94, 369-389.Google Scholar
  19. Dindia, K., & Canary, D. J. (1993). Definitions and theoretical perspectives on maintaining relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, 163-173.Google Scholar
  20. Duck, S. W. (1986). Human relationships. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Duck, S. W. (1994). Steady as (s)he goes: Relational maintenance as a shared meaning system. In D. J. Canary & L. Stafford (Eds.), Communication and relational maintenance (pp. 45-60). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fitzpatrick, M., & Indvik, J. (1982). Implicit theories in enduring relationships: Psychological gender differences in the perception of one's mate. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 46, 311-325.Google Scholar
  23. Huston, T., & Houts, R. (1998). The psychological infrastructure of courtship and marriage: The role of personality and compatibility in romantic relationships. In T. Bradbury (Ed.), The developmental course of marital dysfunction (pp. 114-151). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Ickes, W. (1985). Sex role influences on compatibility in relationships. In W. Ickes (Ed.), Compatible and incompatible relationships (pp. 187-208). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  25. Johnson, R., & Wichern, D. (1992). Applied multivariate statistical analysis (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  26. Lamke, L. (1989). Marital adjustment among rural couples: The role of expressiveness. Sex Roles, 21, 579-590.Google Scholar
  27. Lamke, L., Sollie, D., Durbin, R., & Fitzpatrick, J. (1994). Masculinity, femininity, and relational satisfaction: The mediating role of interpersonal competence. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 11, 535-554.Google Scholar
  28. Langer, E. J. (1978). Rethinking the role of thought in social interaction. In J. H. Harvey, W. J. Ickes, & R. F. Kidd (Eds.), New directions in attribution research. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  29. Langer, E. J. (1989). Mindfulness. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  30. Monge, P. (1980). Multivariate multiple regression. In P. Monge & J. Cappella (Eds.), Multivariate techniques in human communication research (pp. 14-56). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Ragan, S. L. (1989). Communication between the sexes: A consideration of differences in adult communication. In J. F. Nussbaum (Ed.), Life-span communication: Normative processes (pp. 179-193). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  32. Ragsdale, J. D. (1996). Gender, satisfaction level, and the use of relational maintenance strategies in marriage. Communication Monographs, 63, 354-369.Google Scholar
  33. Reeder, H. (1996). A critical look at gender differences in communication research. Communication Studies, 47, 318-330.Google Scholar
  34. Siavelis, R., & Lamke, L. (1992). Instrumentalness and expressiveness: Predictors of heterosexual relationship satisfaction. Sex Roles, 26, 149-159.Google Scholar
  35. Spiegelhoff, M., & Dindia, K. (2001, July). Partners' perceptions of relational maintenance strategies and relationship satisfaction. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Network on Personal Relationships, Prescott, AZ.Google Scholar
  36. Spitzberg, B. H., & Cupach, W. R. (1989). Handbook of interpersonal competence research. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  37. Stafford, L., & Canary, D. J. (1991). Maintenance strategies and romantic relationship type, gender, and relational characteristics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 8, 217-242.Google Scholar
  38. Stafford, L., Dainton, M., & Haas, S. (2000). Measuring routine and strategic relational maintenance: Scale development, sex versus gender roles, and the prediction of relational characteristics. Communication Monographs, 67, 306-323.Google Scholar
  39. Stevens, J. (1996). Applied multivariate statistics for social sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  40. Wheeless, V., & Dierks-Stewart, K. (1981). The psychometric properties of the Bem Sex Role Inventory: Questions concerning reliability and validity. Communication Quarterly, 28, 173-186.Google Scholar
  41. Wood, J. T., & Dindia, K. (1998). What's the difference? A dialogue about differences and similarities between women and men. In D. J. Canary & K. Dindia (Eds.), Sex differences and similarities in communication (pp. 19-39). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brooks Aylor
    • 1
  • Marianne Dainton
    • 1
  1. 1.La Salle UniversityPhiladelphia

Personalised recommendations