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An empirical evaluation of gender role development in adulthood

McCreary, Donald Robert (1989) An empirical evaluation of gender role development in adulthood. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94519) (KAR id:94519)


The purpose of this thesis is to examine empirically the hypothesis that masculine-instrumental and feminine-expressive gender role attributes develop or vary across the life-span. Seven studies are reported, including an analysis of the reliability and validity of the main measure in an elderly population, an examination of gender role stereotypes in three age-related developmental tasks, an assessment of self-perceived gender role variability as a function of participation in similar age-related developmental tasks, and a cross- sectional study examining gender role variability as a function of chronological age and position in both the family and occupational cycles.

In general, the results support those from previous empirical attempts to examine life-span gender roles and they offer important extensions to this literature. For example, each of the present studies have shown consistently that gender role attributes are perceived to become balanced in old age, but that the pathways to this androgynous state are different depending on whether the methodology asks subjects for their stereotypes or self-perceptions. It is suggested that future research should examine the effects of social role participation on self-perceptions of gender role attributes in an attempt to determine their relationship to traditional self-reports. That is, will there be significant mean differences between two self- ratings on a gender role inventory if they were completed while the subjects were actively engaged in different social roles?

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94519
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Life-span; gender role
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 12 May 2023 09:28 UTC
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 09:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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