Sex differences in sex role ideals in early adolescence

Journal Article

The present study was designed to examine sex role ideals in early adolescence. Two questions were addressed: (1) Are there sex differences in early adolescents' images of the ideal male and the ideal female? (2) Do early adolescent males and females posit differences between the ideal male and the ideal female, and if so, are there sex differences in the perceived ideal differences? An abbreviated, simplified version of Rosenkrantz's (1968) sex role stereotype questionnaire was adminisitered to sixty-five junior high school students who differed on two dimensions in their notions of the ideal male, and on three dimensions in their notions of the ideal female. For the male ideal, girls stressed emotional expressiveness and altruistic empathy significantly more than boys. For the ideal female, girls stressed these same two dimensions more than boys, but also stressed task-oriented competence more than boys. Analysis of differences between ideal male and ideal female indicated that boys posited significantly more such differences than did girls. For boys the differences reflected factors of executive competence, self-confidence, and emotional expressiveness. For girls, the differences reflected narrow-band factors of aggressiveness, emotional sensitivity, and empathy. The results suggest that cultural changes in the role of females may be having impact on the ideals of early adolescent girls.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Curry, JF; Hock, RA

Published Date

  • 1981

Published In

  • Adolescence

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 64

Start / End Page

  • 779 - 789