Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Feminine Psychology

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_663-1



Feminine psychology is an area of psychology that focuses on the political, economic, and social issues that pervasively confront women (Horney 1967). This can be interpreted as a counteraction to male-dominated theories, an example being Sigmund Freud’s perspective of female sexuality. One of feminine psychology’s pioneers, Karen Horney, asserted that male realities cannot describe female psychology or define women’s gender by virtue of the lack of experiences of voices from girls and women (Miletic 2002). Therefore, theorists contend that this area of psychology is necessary and that women’s voices and experiences are crucial to understand their psychology. For instance, they claim that characteristics of feminine psychology emerge to adhere to the social order defined by men rather than because of the nature of their gender defined by themselves (Berger 1994).


Feminine psychology was coined by Karen Horney,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ball, L. C., Bazar, J. L., MacKay, J., Rodkey, E. N., Rutherford, A., & Young, J. L. (2013). Using psychology’s feminist voices in the classroom. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37(2), 261–266.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684313480484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berger, M. (1994). Women beyond Freud: New concepts of feminine psychology. New York: Brunner/Mazel Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, L. S. (2010). Theories of psychotherapy: Feminist therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, L. S., & Brodsky, A. M. (1992). The future of feminist therapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 29(1), 51–57.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-3204.29.1.51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cammaert, L. P., & Larsen, C. C. (1988). Feminist frameworks of psychotherapy. In M. A. Dutton-Douglas & L. E. A. Walker (Eds.), Developments in clinical psychology. Feminist psychotherapies: Integration of therapeutic and feminist systems. Westport: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Caplow, T., & Bahr, H. M. (1994). Recent social trends in the United States, 1960–1990. Ottawa: Carleton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Carlson, R. (1972). Understanding women: Implications for personality theory and research. Journal of Social Issues, 28(2), 17–32.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.1972.tb00015.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaplin, T. M. (2015). Gender and emotion expression: A developmental contextual perspective. Emotion Review, 7(1), 14–21.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073914544408.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Chesler, P. (1972). Women and madness. Garden City: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  10. Clarke, V., & Peel, E. (2005). LGBT psychology and feminist psychology : Bridging the divide. Psychology of Women Section Review, 7(2), 4–10.Google Scholar
  11. Committee on Women in Psychology. (2004). 52 resolutions and motions regarding the status of women in psychology: Chronicling 30 years of passion and progress. Retrieved from American Psychological Association from: https://www.apa.org/pi/women/resources/reports/52-resolutions.pdf
  12. Crawford, M., & Unger, R. (2004). Women and gender: A feminist psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  13. Deng, Y., Chang, L., Yang, M., Huo, M., & Zhou, R. (2016). Gender differences in emotional response: Inconsistency between experience and expressivity. PLoS One, 11(6), 1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Epstein, S. (2007). Inclusion: The politics of difference in medical research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans, K. M., Kincade, E. A., Marbley, A. F., & Seem, S. R. (2011). Feminism and feminist therapy: Lessons from the past and hopes for the future. Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(3), 269–277.  https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2005.tb00342.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freud, S., & Strachey, J. (1975). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  17. Grady, K. E. (1981). Sex bias in research design. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 5(4), 628–636.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1981.tb00601.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hegarty, P., & Buechel, C. (2006). Androcentric reporting of gender differences in APA journals: 1965–2004. Review of General Psychology, 10(4), 377–389.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.10.4.377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2011). Handbook of feminist research : Theory and praxis. Thousand Oaks: SAGE publications.Google Scholar
  20. Horney, K. (1942). The collected works of Karen Horney (volume II). New York: W. W. Norton Company.Google Scholar
  21. Horney, K. (1967). Feminine psychology. New York: W. W. Norton Company.Google Scholar
  22. Kim, S., & Rutherford, A. (2015). From seduction to sexism: Feminists challenge the ethics of therapist-client sexual relations in 1970s America. History of Psychology, 18(3), 283–296.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039524.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Loss, C. P. (2011). “Women’s studies is in a lot of ways – consciousness raising”: The educational origins of identity politics. History of Psychology, 14(3), 287–310.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024799.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Miletic, M. P. (2002). The Introduction of a feminine psychology to psychoanalysis. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 38(2), 287–299.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00107530.2002.10747102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Paris, B. J. (2000). The unknown Karen Horney: Essays on gender, culture, and psychoanalysis. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Price, M. (1998). Karen Horney’s counterdiscourses. In P. March & A. Rosenberg (Eds.), Psychoanalytic versions of the human condition. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ruck, N. (2015). Liberating minds: Consciousness-raising as a bridge between feminism and psychology in 1970s Canada. History of Psychology, 18(3), 297–311.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039522.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Rutherford, A., & Pettit, M. (2015). Feminism and/in/as psychology: The public sciences of sex and gender. History of Psychology, 18(3), 223–237.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039533.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Rutherford, A., Vaughn-Blount, K., & Ball, L. C. (2010). Responsible opposition, disruptive voices: Science, activism, and the history of feminist psychology. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34(4), 460–473.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2010.01596.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. St-Amour, N., Laverdure, J., Devault, A., & Manseau, S. (2007). The difficulty of balancing work and family life: Impact on the physical and mental health of Quebec families. Retrieved from Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec from https://www.ncchpp.ca/docs/633-DiffBalancingWorkFamilyLife.pdf
  31. Stuart, J. J. (2008). Working parents and their children: Psychoanalytic perspectives and public policy. American Psychoanalyst: Special Section – Family, 42(1), 18.Google Scholar
  32. Warnes, H., & Hill, G. (1974). Gender identity and the wish to be a woman. Psychosomatics, 15(1), 25–29.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0033-3182(74)71290-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Weisstein, N. (1993). Psychology constructs the female; or the fantasy life of the male psychologist (with some attention to the fantasies of his friends, the male biologist and the male anthropologist). Feminism & Psychology, 3(2), 194–210.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353593032005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Worell, J., & Remer, P. (1992). Feminist perspectives in therapy: An empowerment model for women. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counselling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversität zu LübeckLübeckGermany