Title

INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY DYNAMIC FACTORS RELATED TO SEXISM IN MEN AND WOMEN (SEX-ROLE, WOMEN'S ISSUES, PREJUDICE, SEX-TYPE, MORAL REASONING, PERSONALITY TRAITS)

Date of Completion

January 1985

Keywords

Psychology, Personality

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Individual and family dynamic factors related to sexism in men and women were investigated. As defined here sexism encompasses: negative prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviors toward women and stereotypically feminine characteristics and roles. A second construct, attitudes about sex-specific role assignment, was explored. Distinctive aspects of sexism and attitudes about sex-specific role assignment were investigated and some of the psychological antecedents and correlates of these two constructs were identified.^ Subjects participating in this study included 109 women and 71 men. The information utilized was taken from measures administered to subjects and their families during their freshman year and to the subjects during their senior year in college. Among the family dynamic predictor variables were: parental child-rearing behaviors thought to engender authoritarianism; traditionalism; and parental identificatory attractiveness. Individual variables included: sex type; authoritarianism; moral reasoning; psychological adjustment; and emotional bonding to each parent.^ For women, sexism is a self-directed prejudice, while for men, it is an other-directed prejudice. It was predicted that two factors of psychological adjustment, internalization and externalization, might differentially predict sexism in males and females.^ Sexism was found to be associated with a similar constellation of factors for both men and women. Individuals who tended to be high on authoritarianism, who are stereotypically sex-typed and low on moral reasoning, and who are stereotypically sex-typed and high on internalization were more likely to be sexist. These factors parallel psychological factors previously found to be associated with prejudice, suggesting that adoption of a sexist ideology is similar to other prejudicial and discriminatory stances. A different constellation of predictor variables was associated with women's versus men's attitudes about sex-specific role assignment. Among women, those more likely to support attitudes about sex-specific role assignment had father's who were low in behaviors engendering authoritarianism; were feminine in sex-type and high on internalization; and employed less principled moral reasoning strategies. Men were more authoritarian; had fathers who were high in behaviors engendering authoritarianism; and were high on externalization. Individuals who support attitudes about sex-specific role assignment appear more likely to have qualities consistent with the sex-role orientation stereotypically associated with their sex. ^