Gender Identity Development

  • Kay Bussey


Gender features strongly in most societies and is a significant aspect of self-definition for most people. Following a brief description of views on gender identity from the perspectives of humanistic social science, sociology, and psychology, this chapter provides an analysis of gender identity development from the perspective of social cognitive theory. Social cognitive theory describes how gender conceptions are developed and transformed across the life span. Through a combination of personal and sociostructural factors, people construct self-conceptions of gender, which influence gender-related conduct through the motivational and self-regulatory processes associated with gender identity. A broad range of social influences including parents, peers, the media, and other social systems contribute to the development of gender conceptions and to the self-regulatory processes linked to them. However, people are not simply products of the varying social systems that impinge on them. Rather, it is shown that people contribute to transforming their gender conceptions and bringing about social change. Gender roles are changing through people’s actions which affect the social subsystems that influence the development and transformation of gender identity.


Gender Role Gender Identity Gender Stereotype Social Cognitive Theory Gender Category 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank Albert Bandura for his extensive comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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