Encyclopedia of Adolescence

2011 Edition
| Editors: Roger J. R. Levesque

Gender Intensification

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1695-2_391


The gender intensification hypothesis states that girls and boys experience increased pressure to conform to culturally sanctioned gender roles during adolescence (Hill and Lynch 1983). These pressures are thought to come from a variety of sources and are intended to prepare adolescents for their adult roles as women and men. This essay summarizes the gender intensification hypothesis and reviews evidence for the intensification of gender-role identity, gender-role attitudes, and gendered behavior during adolescence. The essay concludes by considering limitations in current investigations of gender intensification and directions for future research.


The study of gender development is complicated because, although gender is one of the most well-recognized social categories, its identifiers are extremely diverse and multifaceted (Twenge 1999). Cultures identify “masculine” and “feminine” attributes by the likelihood that each attribute is associated with one sex and...

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This research was supported, in part, by Award Number F31MH084476 from the National Institute of Mental Health to Heather A. Priess and by Award Number T32HD049302 from the Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health And Human Development to Sara M. Lindberg. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health, the Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, or the National Institutes of Health.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Women's Health ResearchUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA