Sex Roles, Vol. 49, Nos.

3/4, August 2003 ( C 2003)

Gender Identity and Adjustment in Middle Childhood
Priscilla R. Carver,1,2 Jennifer L. Yunger,1 and David G. Perry1,3

This article has two purposes. The first is to present a brief (and speculative) account of the developmental origins of the several components of gender identity featured in the multidimensional model of gender identity proposed by Egan and Perry (2001). The second is to offer additional empirical support for the construct and discriminant validity of the various gender identity dimensions. Children (M age = 11.5 years) were assessed for 4 components of gender identity: (a) felt gender typicality, (b) contentment with gender assignment, (c) felt pressure for gender conformity, and (d) intergroup bias (the sentiment that one’s own sex is superior). Gender typicality, gender contentedness, and felt pressure (but not intergroup bias) related to indexes of psychosocial adjustment in specific and theoretically meaningful ways. The case for a multidimensional approach to gender identity is strengthened.
KEY WORDS: gender identity; gender typing; gender roles.

Gender identity is a central construct in many accounts of psychosocial development (e.g., Harris, 1995; Maccoby, 1998), yet it has been defined in diverse ways. Kohlberg (1966) and Zucker et al. (1993) viewed gender identity as knowing that one is a member of one sex rather than the other; Kagan (1964) regarded gender identity as the degree to which one perceives the self as conforming to cultural stereotypes for one’s gender; Bem (1981) saw gender identity as the degree to which one internalizes societal pressures for gender conformity; Green (1974) and Spence (1985) viewed gender identity as a fundamental sense of acceptance of, and of belonging to, one’s gender. It is conceivable that all of the foregoing (and still other) conceptualizations of gender identity have merit but that different varieties or facets of gender identity serve different psychological functions or affect adjustment in different ways. Thus, it may be fruitful to regard gender identity as a multidimensional
1 Department

of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. 2 Present address: Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania. 3 To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida 33431; e-mail:

construct and to define gender identity as the collection of thoughts and feelings one has about one’s gender category and one’s membership in it. A recent study by Egan and Perry (2001) was built on this premise. Egan and Perry proposed that gender identity is composed of five major components: (a) membership knowledge (knowledge of membership in a gender category); (b) gender typicality (the degree to which one feels one is a typical member of one’s gender category); (c) gender contentedness (the degree to which one is happy with one’s gender assignment); (d) felt pressure for gender conformity (the degree to which one feels pressure from parents, peers, and self for conformity to gender stereotypes); and (e) intergroup bias (the extent to which one believes one’s own sex is superior to the other). Egan and Perry (2001) measured the last four of these components of gender identity in preadolescent children and found the components to be relatively independent, to be fairly stable over a school year, and to relate to adjustment (i.e., self-esteem and peer acceptance) in different ways. Gender typicality and gender contentedness were favorably related to adjustment, whereas felt pressure and intergroup bias were negatively associated with adjustment. Links between the gender identity constructs and the adjustment indexes remained significant when children’s 95

2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation

96 perceptions of self-efficacy for a wide variety of sex-typed activities were statistically controlled. This suggests that the gender identity constructs carry implications for adjustment beyond self-perceptions of specific sex-linked competencies. The purposes of the present report are twofold. The first is to offer a brief, and somewhat speculative, account of the development of the various gender identity components. The second purpose is empirical and represents an attempt to substantiate the validity of the gender identity constructs by demonstrating theoretically meaningful links between measures of the constructs and multiple indexes of psychosocial functioning in preadolescent children. Note that although the developmental account provided in the first part of the article deals with development across a rather broad age span (i.e., the preschool years through early adolescence), the empirical part of the article is based on data collected only from preadolescent children. Thus, the empirical part is not intended as a test of the developmental model presented in the first part. We begin with the developmental account and then turn to the present study. GENDER IDENTITY IN DEVELOPMENTAL CONTEXT It is likely that the earliest emerging of the gender identity components is membership knowledge. This aspect of gender identity develops in a sequence of steps (Slaby & Frey, 1975). By the age of 2.5 or 3 years, most children evidence basic membership knowledge by correctly answering the question “Are you a boy or a girl?”, but it is not until several years later that children attain gender constancy, or understand that their sex remains invariant across time and changes in surface appearance (e.g., hair length). By age 6 or 7, nearly all children attain full gender constancy, thereby eliminating within-sex variability on this facet of gender identity. Thus, beyond this age, membership knowledge cannot account for within-sex individual differences in other variables, such as psychosocial adjustment. This aspect of gender identity, then, is not a focus of the present study. Although full gender constancy is not attained until age 6 or 7, the basic membership knowledge usually achieved by age 3 may be sufficient to set in motion a number of “intergroup processes” that prompt preschoolers to interact predominantly in same-sex groups, a phenomenon known as sex segregation (Maccoby, 1998). It appears that when children (or adults) believe that they share membership in a

Carver, Yunger, and Perry group, a number of identity validation processes come into play. These include attraction to the in-group, preferential treatment of the in-group, and devaluation and homogenization of the out-group (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). The sex segregation that derives from these intergroup processes is important, largely because boys’ and girls’ groups socialize different behaviors and social rules (Maccoby, 1998). Preschool children’s basic knowledge of their gender and the intergroup processes it inspires probably provide the roots for development of three of the gender identity components proposed by Egan and Perry (2001)—intergroup bias, felt pressure, and gender contentedness. Individual differences in these components may be slight at first. During preschool, intergroup bias may be a normative, natural consequence of intergroup processes. However, with advancing age and socialization, strong same-sex favoritism is likely to become increasingly immature, inappropriate, and socially problematic (Egan & Perry, 2001; Powlishta, 1995). Strong felt pressure for gender conformity also is normative for young children, who tend to regard gender stereotypes as moral imperatives. This early sense of pressure is difficult to trace to specific social learning experiences (Maccoby, 1998). As children make the transition into elementary school, they relax their rigidly held gender rules, gender conformity is seen more as a matter of choice, and felt pressure for gender conformity subsides. However, for some older children felt pressure remains strong. Post-preschool felt pressure may be due to developmental delay, but additional factors, such as introjection of socially imposed values, probably also contribute (Bem, 1993; Bussey & Bandura, 1999). Gender contentedness also begins during the preschool period. For most children, contentment with one’s gender is high, probably because of intergroup cognitions and the gratifying same-sex affiliations they promote. However, some preschoolers are gender dysphoric. In extreme cases, such children may be diagnosed with gender identity disorder, especially if they also exhibit strong cross-gender-typed behavior (Bradley & Zucker, 1990; Green, 1987; Rekers, 1985). Early gender dissatisfaction may continue for many years. In addition, some children may develop gender discontentment at a later age, perhaps if they find a strongly desired activity to be off limits because it is deemed gender inappropriate. As children move into the elementary school years, the same-sex peer group continues to be a major context for social interaction and socialization, but advances in cognitive development—improved

Gender Identity and Adjustment social comparison skills, the ability to infer stable traits in the self, and the ability to imagine what the collective other is thinking about the self—set the stage for emergence of the fifth component of gender identity—an estimate of one’s gender typicality. Judgments of gender typicality are of great importance to preadolescents (Kagan, 1964; Kohlberg, 1969; Spence & Buckner, 1995), despite the fact that felt pressure for gender conformity is subsiding at this age. In middle childhood, children have a strong intrinsic desire to “join in,” to feel they belong, and to see themselves as not terribly different from same-sex others. Despite the importance that children attach to fitting in with their same-sex peers, within each sex there is ample room for children to reach different conclusions about their gender typicality (Kagan, 1964; Spence, 1985). Although children’s groups remain strongly segregated by sex throughout childhood, within each sex children vary greatly with respect to how much they exhibit prototypical gender-typed behaviors (Harris, 1995; Maccoby, 1998). Such withinsex variations in gender typing provide the raw material on which children cognitively operate to estimate their gender typicality. Presumably, children reach a summary judgment of their typicality by integrating several kinds of information, including selfobservation of salient gender-typed attributes, social comparison, and appraisals communicated by significant others. Thus, a sense of gender typicality is cognitively constructed. It is important to note that a child’s sense of overall gender typicality cannot be assumed to be isomorphic with the child’s self-perception of any specific gender-typed attribute (e.g., agentic or communal traits). The degree to which children exhibit attributes typical of their gender is only modestly correlated across different domains of gender typing (e.g., personality traits, toy and activity preferences, relationship partner preferences, academic pursuits, occupational preferences, fantasy life, and nonverbal characteristics such as styles of speech, gesture, and dress; Huston, 1983; Ruble & Martin, 1998). Therefore, self-perceived gender typing in any single domain cannot be taken as a stand-in for overall felt gender typicality. A child’s estimate of his or her overall gender typicality represents an idiosyncratic weighting and integrating of self-perceptions of diverse gender-typed attributes (Egan & Perry, 2001; Spence, 1993; Spence & Buckner, 1995). The specific gendertyped attributes that contribute most strongly to one’s overall sense of gender typicality will vary from child to child, though at some points in development certain

97 aspects of self-perceived gender typing are likely to be influential for many children (e.g., a typical or atypical sexual orientation may contribute strongly to most early adolescents’ sense of gender typicality). Importantly, the fact that multiple gender-typed attributes contribute to children’s sense of gender typicality provides some flexibility to children in how a sense of gender typicality can be achieved. Furthermore, the cognitive skills that come with the advent of Piagetian concrete operations (e.g., compensation and conservation) allow children to engage in compensatory identity “repair work.” For example, a boy who questions his gender typicality because of poor athletic ability might restore his sense of typicality by succeeding in an alternate male-typed arena, such as math or science (Spence & Buckner, 1995). Nonetheless, some children will be unable to perceive in themselves a salient and valued same-gender-typed attribute that imparts a sense of gender typicality, or will perceive in themselves a salient cross-gender-typed attribute that undermines a sense of gender typicality. These children may be prone to a persistent sense of gender atypicality that lasts perhaps many years. This brief synopsis of the development of the components of gender identity suggests that the period of middle childhood presents important challenges to children on the gender identity development front. During this period, it is normative and expected that children relinquish or suppress certain once-cherished but now developmentally immature components of gender identity, namely, intergroup bias and felt pressure for gender conformity. At the same time, children are struggling to achieve and consolidate a new kind of gender identity—a sense of gender typicality. For some children, this will not be easy, because, as noted, processes of within-group differentiation and social comparison present children with ample opportunity to question their typicality on gender-prototypical dimensions, and not all children will succeed in the compensatory identity repair work needed to achieve a stable and confident sense of gender typicality. Moreover, for some children, the same factors that undermine a sense of gender typicality are likely also to threaten a sense of gender contentedness.

THE PRESENT STUDY The present research was designed to garner further support for Egan and Perry’s multidimensional model of gender identity (Egan & Perry, 2001).

98 Relations between the gender identity constructs and a broad array of adjustment indexes were examined. Egan and Perry found predictable associations between the gender identity components and two indexes of adjustment—self-esteem and peer acceptance—but the inferences that could be drawn from using only these two measures of adjustment were limited. The self-esteem assessment was limiting because the gender identity and self-esteem measures were all self-reported, and shared method variance may have contributed to associations between them. The peer acceptance assessment was also limited because children may be liked or disliked by peers for many different reasons. For example, children are about as likely to be rejected by peers for exhibiting externalizing problems (e.g., aggression) as they are for displaying internalizing symptoms (e.g., social withdrawal; Hodges & Perry, 1999). Because an omnibus index of peer acceptance imparts no information about the social behaviors exhibited by children, using such an index precludes testing hypotheses about links between the various components of gender identity and specific behaviors (e.g., high felt pressure for gender conformity might predict high aggression and low communal behavior for boys but the opposite pattern for girls). Ultimately, the validity of a conceptual model that specifies that gender identity is composed of multiple components, each with unique effects on adjustment or behavior, requires supportive longitudinal evidence. However, before expensive longitudinal work is undertaken, it would be advisable to have evidence that the various gender identity components relate concurrently to a more informative set of criterion adjustment variables than that used by Egan and Perry (2001). Gathering such evidence was the purpose of the present study. Our strategy was to see whether the gender identity dimensions relate in specific ways to indexes of adjustment within the peer group. Social adaptation among one’s peers has been suggested by numerous theorists to be affected by gender identity (e.g., Bugental & Goodnow, 1998; Bussey & Bandura, 1999; Harris, 1995; Pollack, 1998; Sroufe, Bennett, Englund, Urban, & Shulman, 1993), and thus peer adaptation seemed a reasonable context for assessing the putative effects of gender identity. It should be stressed that although our hypotheses were derived from causal models that specify that gender identity influences (or, in some cases, is influenced by) peer adaptation, it was not the purpose of this study to provide evidence for causal influence; indeed, the concurrent correlational design precluded

Carver, Yunger, and Perry such inferences. Our objective was more modest— simply to see whether sufficient evidence exists for the construct and discriminant validity of the gender identity components to make subsequent longitudinal investigation a sensible investment. In this study, the primary measures of adjustment were peer reports of five dimensions of social behavior and adaptation: internalizing problems, victimization by peers, externalizing problems, agentic traits, and communal traits. For comparison with the peer-reported internalizing problems measure, we also included two self-reported measures of internalized distress: global self-worth and self-perceived peer social competence. Global self-worth is very highly correlated (negatively) with self-report measures of depression (Harter, 1998); self-perceived peer social competence captures children’s sense that they are liked by peers, have friends, and are otherwise faring well in the peer group. Hypotheses for each gender identity measure follow. Gender Typicality Numerous theorists have suggested that children evaluate themselves on a dimension of gender typicality and suffer discomfort, even despair, when they come up wanting. Various bases for the expected link between gender typicality and psychological well-being have been suggested. Children who appraise themselves to be gender atypical may fear ostracism, denial of privileges, or a loss of protection by the group (Bugental & Goodnow, 1998; Caporael & Brewer, 1991). They may also experience a loss of self-esteem (Tajfel, 1982), negative self-sanctions (Bussey & Bandura, 1999), or simply a sense of being inadequate as group members (Kohlberg, 1969). Thus, children with a low sense of gender typicality should be prone to anxiety, sadness, social withdrawal, self-deprecation, and other signs of internalized distress. Furthermore, because children who display these characteristics are seen as easy prey by aggressive children (Egan & Perry, 1998; Hodges, Malone, & Perry, 1997), those who feel gender atypical should be more likely than other children to be victimized by peers. It is likely that some children are more prone to the ill effects of felt gender atypicality than others. In particular, low gender typicality should be more disturbing for children who feel strong pressure for gender conformity than for children who feel no mandate to conform to gender stereotypes. That is, children who believe it is important to be gender

Gender Identity and Adjustment conforming yet appraise themselves as atypical should be maximally distressed. A final prediction for the gender typicality construct is based on the idea that estimates of gender typicality are, at least in part, reflections of self-perceptions of salient gender-linked characteristics. As pointed out, a sense of gender typicality is not based exclusively on self-perceived gender typing in any single domain (e.g., personality traits) but rather is a more abstracted, integrated assessment about the self reached by synthesizing diverse information about one’s gender typing. Despite the fact that gender identity is multiply determined, there are reasons for thinking that self-perceptions of agentic and communal traits assume importance during middle childhood in many children’s assessment of their male typicality or female typicality. Maccoby (1998) pointed out that preadolescent boys, especially when interacting in same-sex groups, tend to exhibit agentic traits such as competitiveness, daring, and assertion, whereas preadolescent girls tend to exhibit communal behaviors such as intimate exchange, cooperation, and efforts to maintain social harmony. Maccoby stressed that although peer interaction remains strongly segregated by sex during this age period, there exist considerable withinsex differences in children’s tendencies to exhibit the traits typical of their sex. Thus, gender-typed personality traits may be one, although certainly not the only, determinant of felt gender typicality in middle childhood. Gender Contentedness Young children who are dissatisfied with their gender to the point of being diagnosed with gender identity disorder are decidedly unhappy and socially maladjusted, in part because of the negative social reactions they incur (Ruble & Martin, 1998). Older children under treatment at clinics for strong gender dissatisfaction also tend to be distressed (Zucker & Bradley, 1995; Zucker, Owen, Bradley, & Ameeriar, 2002). Even among nonclinic samples, variations in gender contentment exist and are likely to affect adjustment. The feeling of being at home or not at home in one’s body is almost certain to affect satisfaction with the self. Furthermore, the internalizing problems of children with low gender contentedness should be greatest for children who experience strong felt pressure for gender conformity. That is, children who wish they were the other sex or who desire to engage in cross-sex activities should be distressed mainly when

99 they perceive their social environment to be telling them that they cannot be whom they wish to be.

Felt Pressure In addition to serving as a moderator of the degree to which low gender typicality or low gender contentedness contributes to internalized distress, felt pressure should be a negative influence on psychological well-being in its own right. As emphasized by Bem (1981) and by Bussey and Bandura (1999), children who feel strong pressure for gender typing should be less likely to explore a wide range of options when deciding what interests to pursue or talents to cultivate, and therefore they should be less likely to settle on options that are maximally fulfilling. This straightjacketing of self should result in less satisfaction with the self. Thus, children who are experiencing high felt pressure for gender conformity should show more signs of internalized distress than children who are freer of gender stereotypes. The measures used in the present study also permitted evaluation of the possibility that felt pressure is associated with specific gender-typed social behaviors. Bem (1993) proposed that internalized societal pressure for gender conformity disposes men and boys to use power to achieve dominance and disposes women and girls to subordinate their own needs, desires, and interests to those of others. In a similar vein, in his treatise on “real boys,” Pollack (1998) argued that felt pressure disposes boys to suppress communal behaviors and to hide feelings of weakness, sadness, fear, and tenderness. These considerations suggest the hypothesis that felt pressure causes children not only to take on negative components of same-gender stereotypes (e.g., antisocial tendencies for boys, subservience for girls) but also to shun positive components of other-gender stereotypes (e.g., communal behavior for boys, agentic traits for girls).

Intergroup Bias As suggested by Powlishta (1995), intergroup bias may cause preadolescents to experience difficulty with peer interaction. Children who espouse negative attitudes toward the other sex at a time when heterosexual contacts are becoming more accepted and normative may be perceived by peers as high in hostility (i.e., externalizing problems) or as low in communal tendencies.

100 METHOD Participants All children in the third through eighth grades of a state university laboratory school were invited to participate. Of the 336 children in these grades, 206 (61%; 93 boys and 113 girls) received written parental consent for participation; the children also signed an assent form. The admissions procedures of the school are designed to ensure that the demographic composition of the student body reflects that of the state of Florida as a whole (68% European American, 18% African American, 13% Hispanic, and 1% Asian American, with annual household income distributed as follows: 6% $0–$17,499; 12% $17,500–$32,499; 22% $32,500–$52,499; and 60% $52,500 or more). Approximately equal numbers of children came from each grade (31, 42, 40, 30, 28, and 35 third through eighth graders, respectively). Children averaged 11 years 6 months of age.4

Carver, Yunger, and Perry Items 13–46 of the questionnaire were items developed by Egan and Perry (2001) to assess gender typicality (6 items), gender contentedness (6 items), felt pressure (14 items), and intergroup bias (8 items). The items of these scales were randomly interspersed. The Cronbach α coefficients for the four scales, respectively, were .70, .70, .83, and .70. The gender typicality scale assessed the degree to which children think that their interests, personalities, and competencies are typical of their gender. Here is a sample item from the gender typicality scale (all sample items from the gender identity scales are from the girls’ form): Some girls don’t BUT feel they’re just like all the other girls their age Very true Sort of true for me for me Other girls do feel they’re just like all the other girls their age Sort of true for me Very true for me

Measures Two instruments, a Self-Concept Questionnaire and a Peer Nomination Inventory, were administered. These are described next. Both instruments may be obtained from the authors. Self-Concept Questionnaire This 46-item questionnaire contained six scales. All items of this questionnaire (as well as all items on all remaining questionnaires, except for the PNI) were written in the format developed by Harter (1985) to minimize the influence of response biases (see example item below). Scale scores were computed by averaging across items and could range from 1 to 4. The first 12 items of the questionnaire were items developed by Harter (1985) to measure global selfworth (6 items) and self-perceived peer social competence (6 items). The Cronbach α coefficients for these scales were .81 and .79, respectively.
4 This project was conducted 2 years after the Egan and Perry (2001)

Other sample items from the gender typicality scale are “Some girls’ don’t feel that their personality is similar to most girls’ personalities BUT other girls do feel . . .” and “Some girls feel that the kinds of things they’re good at are similar to what most girls are good at BUT Other girls’ don’t feel . . .” The gender contentedness scale measured the extent to which children are happy with their gender and rarely wish to participate in cross-sex activities. Sample items are “Some girls like being a girl BUT Other girls don’t . . .” and “Some girls sometimes think it might be more fun to be a boy BUT Other girls never think . . .” The felt pressure scale captured the degree to which children feel pressure from their parents, their peers, and themselves for gender conformity.5 Sample items are “Some girls think their parents would be upset if they wanted to play with boys’ toys BUT Other girls don’t think . . .” and “Some girls think it would be OK for them to participate in boys’ activities BUT Other girls think it would be wrong to . . .” The intergroup bias scale assessed the degree to which children are more likely to attribute positive qualities, and less likely to attribute negative qualities, to their own sex than to the other. Sample items are “Some girls don’t think
5 Egan

study but was conducted at the same school. Thus, there is some overlap in the participants of the two studies. This overlap should not pose a problem, because the present project was not designed as a replication of the Egan and Perry study but rather was intended simply to identify additional adjustment correlates of gender identity. Nonetheless, it should be acknowledged that the two samples are not entirely independent.

and Perry’s felt pressure scale contained 10 items (Egan & Perry, 2001). We added 4 items to improve the scale’s reliability and to include more items assessing felt pressure from the self for gender conformity. The 14-item scale contained 5 items assessing felt pressure from parents, 5 items assessing felt pressure from peers, and 4 items assessing felt pressure from self.

Gender Identity and Adjustment that girls are more truthful than boys BUT other girls do think . . .” and “Some girls think that boys are more annoying than girls BUT other girls don’t think . . .” Peer Nomination Inventory Peer-reported social behavior and adjustment were assessed with a modification of Wiggins and Winder’s Peer Nomination Inventory (Wiggins & Winder, 1961). The Inventory contained 53 items and included items that tap the following aspects of social behavior: (a) internalizing problems (8 items); (b) victimization (10 items); externalizing problems (13 items); agentic traits (5 items); and communal traits (5 items). The remaining 12 items were positive fillers (e.g., “He is a fast runner.”). Children checked off the names of same-sex classmates who fit the behavioral description in each item (unlimited nominations); owing to the length of the inventory, children were not asked to nominate other-sex peers for the items. A score for each item was calculated as the percentage of same-sex classmates who checked the children’s name for the item. An initial factor analysis on the 41 items of interest yielded four easily interpretable factors that closely conform to the original assignment of items to constructs, except that items that assess internalizing problems loaded along with victimization items on a single factor. In addition, three items cross-loaded. A second analysis without these three items was run, and it yielded four pure factors: internalizing problems (this scale included victimization items and was composed of 18 items; e.g., from the boys’ form: “He says bad things about himself.”; “He gets picked on by other kids.”); externalizing problems (12 items ; e.g., “He always has to have his own way.”; “He hits and pushes others around.”); agentic traits (3 items; e.g., “He tries hard to win games and contests.”; “He is brave.”); and communal traits (5 items; e.g., “He tries to get along with everyone.”; “When a kid is sad, he tries to make him feel better.”). A score on each scale was calculated for each child by averaging the scores the child received on the items of the scale. The Cronbach α coefficients were .96, .93, .79, and .89 for the internalizing, externalizing, agentic, and communal scales, respectively. Procedure The two instruments were administered to children in the spring of the school year. Other
Table I. Means and Standard Deviations of Measures Boys Measure Gender identity measure Gender typicality Gender contentedness Felt pressure Intergroup bias Adjustment measure Internalizing problems Externalizing problems Agentic traits Communal traits Global self-worth Self-perceived peer social competence M 3.02 3.23 2.45 2.25 0.20 0.25 0.53 0.40 3.30 2.92 SD 0.63 0.46 0.43 0.52 0.18 0.17 0.22 0.20 0.58 0.67


Girls M 2.81 2.70 1.71 2.52 0.15 0.19 0.47 0.47 3.33 3.05 SD 0.62 0.61 0.39 0.57 0.15 0.16 0.19 0.20 0.58 0.71

questionnaires relevant to a project on attachment were also administered. All instruments except the Peer Nomination Inventory were administered individually to children in two 45-min testing sessions by one of several adult females who read the items to the child. The Peer Nomination Inventory was group-administered to children in their classrooms in a 30-min session.

RESULTS Results are presented in three sections. First, sex and age differences in the measures are summarized. Second, intercorrelations among the measures are presented. The third section reports tests of hypotheses about relations between gender identity and adjustment.

Sex and Age Differences in Measures Means and standard deviations of the measures are given in Table I, separately by child sex. To discern significant sex and age differences, each measure was treated as a dependent variable in a multiple regression analysis with sex and age entered as simultaneous predictors. With age controlled, the effect of sex was significant for eight measures at p < .05 or better.6 With respect to gender identity, boys scored higher than girls on gender typicality, gender contentedness, and felt pressure, but boys scored lower than girls on intergroup bias. As for the adjustment indexes, boys scored higher than girls on internalizing problems,
6 All

p values in this article are two-tailed unless otherwise noted.

Table II. Correlations Among Gender Identity Measures Gender identity measure 1. Gender typicality 2. Gender contentedness 3. Felt pressure 4. Intergroup bias 1 — .31∗∗ −.01 .04 2 .25∗∗ — .16 .19∗ 3 .00 .17 — .41∗∗ 4 .20 .06 .16 — Table III.

Carver, Yunger, and Perry
Correlations Among Adjustment Measures (PeerReport and Self-Esteem Measures) 1 2 .16 — −.01 −.67∗∗ −.20∗ −.07 3 −.65∗∗ .10 — .25∗∗ .00 .25∗∗ 4 −.35∗∗ 5 −.13 6 −.29∗∗ .05 .20∗ .04 .39∗∗ —

Adjustment measure

Note. Correlations for boys are above the diagonal; those for girls are below the diagonal. Entries are partial correlations with age controlled. ∗p < .05. ∗∗p < .01.

externalizing problems, and agentic traits, but lower than girls on communal traits. With sex controlled, the effect of age was significant for six measures at p < .05 or better. With increasing age, children reported greater gender typicality and greater gender contentedness but reduced felt pressure and reduced intergroup bias. Of the adjustment measures, only two showed an association with age: older children reported higher global selfworth and higher self-perceived peer social competence than younger children. Because of these sundry effects of age, we controlled for age in subsequent analyses. Intercorrelations of Measures This section reports the intercorrelations among the gender identity variables and among the adjustment indexes. Relations between the gender identity and adjustment measures are given in a later section. Correlations Among Gender Identity Variables Relations among the gender identity variables are given for each sex in Table II. Most associations are low, but some are significant. For both sexes, gender typicality and gender contentedness are positively correlated, but it will be seen that the two measures relate to adjustment in different ways. It is interesting that the two “immature” forms of gender identity— felt pressure and intergroup bias—are correlated for girls but not for boys, although reasons for this are not clear. Correlations Among Adjustment Measures (Peer-Report and Self-Esteem Measures) Relations among the adjustment indexes are given for each sex in Table III. Although many associ-

1. Internalizing — problems 2. Externalizing .48∗∗ problems 3. Agentic −.40∗∗ traits 4. Communal −.36∗∗ traits 5. Global −.08 self-worth 6. Self-perceived −.33∗∗ peer social competence

−.68∗∗ −.29∗∗ .22∗ — .22∗ .15 −.08 .17 — .45∗∗

Note. Correlations for boys are above the diagonal; those for girls are below the diagonal. Entries are partial correlations with age controlled. ∗p < .05. ∗∗p < .01.

ations are significant and several are strong, it will be seen that significant associations between the gender identity measures and the adjustment measures are mostly quite specific and theoretically meaningful. Relations of Gender Identity to Peer-Reported Adjustment and to Self-Esteem The relation of each gender identity measure to each adjustment index was evaluated in a separate multiple regression analysis (4 gender identity measures × 6 adjustment indexes = 24 analyses). In each analysis, one of the adjustment indexes served as the dependent variable. Sex and age were entered as first-step predictors; a gender identity measure was entered on the second step; the 3 two-way interactions (age × sex, age × gender identity, and sex × gender identity) were tested on the third step; the threeway interaction was examined on the fourth step. In no analysis was the three-way interaction significant. However, because sex differences in certain relations of gender identity to adjustment had been predicted, and because several interactions of sex with gender identity measure were indeed significant or nearly so (sex moderated the relation between gender typicality and agentic traits, p < .05; the relation between felt pressure and externalizing problems, p < .05; and the relation between felt pressure and global selfworth, p < .09), the relations of gender identity to adjustment were examined separately for each sex. These relations are given in Table IV. The entries in

Gender Identity and Adjustment
Table IV. Relations of Gender Identity to Peer-Reported Adjustment (and to Self-Esteem) Gender identity measure Gender typicality Adjustment index Internalizing problems Externalizing problems Agentic traits Communal traits Global self-worth Self-perceived peer social competence


Gender contentedness Boys .02 −.04 −.09 −.11 .24∗ .22∗ Girls −.14 −.20∗ −.12 .06 .36∗∗∗ .23∗

Felt pressure Boys .04 .16 −.03 −.21∗ .05 −.07 Girls −.02 −.12 −.22∗ −.11 −.20∗ −.21∗

Intergroup bias Boys −.01 .11 .18 −.14 .06 −.03 Girls −.03 −.03 −.08 −.03 .05 .07

Boys −.35∗∗∗ −.07 .33∗∗∗ .14 .13 .44∗∗∗

Girls −.36∗∗∗ −.09 .05 .21∗ .26∗∗ .48∗∗∗

Note. Entries are partial correlations with age controlled. < .05. ∗∗ p < .01. ∗∗∗ p < .001.

Table IV are partial correlations that control for age and thus indicate, for each sex, the significance of the relation of the gender identity measure to the adjustment measure with age controlled. The significance of the partial correlation is identical to the significance that would be obtained on the second step of a multiple regression analysis (conducted on either the boys’ data alone or the girls’ data alone) in which the adjustment index is treated as the dependent variable, age is entered as a first-step predictor, and the gender identity variable is tested on the second step. Results concerning the relations between gender identity and adjustment are summarized next, with each gender identity measure considered in turn.7 Gender Typicality As may be seen in the first two columns of Table IV, both boys and girls who perceive themselves to be different from others of their sex are distressed. Not only do their peers perceive them to possess internalizing problems, but the children themselves report distress, especially dissatisfaction with their social lives. It was hypothesized that the internalized distress of children who feel gender atypical would be greatest if the children also felt strong pressure for gender conformity. To test this hypothesis, three regression analyses were run—one for each measure of distress (internalizing problems, global self-worth, and selfperceived peer social competence). Sex and age were
7 Significant

interactions involving participant age were few, did not qualify the major findings of the study, and conformed to no particular pattern. That is, certain effects described ahead were somewhat stronger for younger children, whereas other effects were somewhat stronger for older children. Because we did not advance predictions about moderator effects of age, and to save space, interactions involving age are not described in this report.

entered on the first step; on the second step, gender typicality and felt pressure were entered; on the third step, the 3 two-way interactions of sex × gender typicality, sex × felt pressure, and gender typicality × felt pressure were evaluated; on the fourth step, the three-way interaction of sex × gender typicality × felt pressure was tested. Interactions involving age were not included, because including them would have resulted in testing more terms than warranted by the N. Of particular interest was the significance of the gender typicality × felt pressure interaction when tested on the third step. This was significant ( p < .01) only in the analysis on internalizing problems (in no analysis was the three-way interaction significant). We explored the nature of the two-way interaction of felt pressure and gender typicality using the procedures recommended by Aiken and West (1991). Results confirmed that the size of the negative association between gender typicality and internalizing problems was a direct function of the degree to which children reported pressure for gender conformity. As the level of felt pressure moved from low (−1 SD) to medium (0 SD) to high (+1 SD), gender typicality became increasingly associated (negatively) with internalizing problems, respective Bs = −.24, p < .05; −.47, p < .001; and −.69, p < .001. Thus, as felt pressure increased, self-perceived gender atypicality became increasingly paired with internalizing problems. It was hypothesized that during middle childhood self-perceptions of agentic traits and of communal traits contribute, respectively, to a sense of male typicality or female typicality. Consistent with this expectation, the relation of agentic traits to gender typicality was indeed significant only for boys, whereas communal traits was significantly related to gender typicality only for girls (Table IV).

104 Gender Contentedness Gender contentedness was positively associated with the two self-reported measures of self-esteem for both boys and girls (Table IV). It might appear from Table IV that gender contentedness is unrelated to peer-reported internalizing problems, but it will be recalled that the relation of gender contentedness to internalized distress was expected mainly for children who experience strong pressure for gender conformity (because felt pressure should cause gender-dysphoric children the most distress). To examine this hypothesis, three regression analyses (one for each of the three measures of internalized distress) were run (the regression analysis was similar in form to that used to test the hypothesis that felt pressure and gender typicality interactively influence distress). The interaction of gender contentedness and felt pressure was indeed significant for all three dependent variables (internalizing problems, p < .01; global self-worth, p < .005; and self-perceived peer social competence, p < .01), and this interaction did not depend on child sex (because in no analysis was the three-way interaction of sex × gender contentedness × felt pressure significant). Results from followup tests using Aiken and West’s procedures (Aiken and West, 1991) confirmed that the degree to which low gender contentedness was associated with signs of distress was a direct function of the degree of felt pressure. As felt pressure moved from low (−1 SD) to medium (0 SD) to high (+1 SD), low gender contentedness became increasingly associated with distress: for internalizing problems, respective Bs = −.05, ns; −.33, p < .01; and −.61, p < .01; for global self-worth, respective Bs = .31, p < .01; .58, p < .001; and .85, p < .001; and for self-perceived peer social competence, respective Bs = .19, p < .05; .48, p < .001; and .78, p < .001. An unexpected finding was that gender contentedness was significantly related to externalizing problems for girls (but not for boys). That is, genderdysphoric girls were perceived by peers as more aggressive, disruptive, and antisocial than other girls.

Carver, Yunger, and Perry related to both global self-worth and self-perceived peer social competence, but this was true only for girls (Table IV).8 In addition, the hypothesis that felt pressure leads children to shun positive cross-sex attributes received support. Girls high in felt pressure were low in agentic traits, and boys high in felt pressure were low in communal traits (Table IV). Although the interaction of felt pressure and sex was significant when predicting externalizing problems, for neither sex alone was the association between felt pressure and externalizing problems significant. Nonetheless, the pattern shown in Table IV (felt pressure and externalizing problems are positively correlated for boys but negatively correlated for girls) is consistent with the possibility that felt pressure contributes to the commonly found sex difference in externalizing conduct.9

Intergroup Bias There were no significant associations between intergroup bias and the adjustment indexes (see Table IV).

Summary and Supplementary Analyses Each of three components of gender identity (gender typicality, gender contentedness, and felt pressure) was associated with at least one peerreported index of adjustment for one or both sexes.
8 It

Felt Pressure As noted, felt pressure was a powerful moderator of the association between internalized distress and gender contentedness (and gender typicality). Felt pressure also was, as a main effect, negatively

will be recalled that the omnibus multiple regression analysis predicting global self-worth from felt pressure (and sex and age) yielded a nearly significant ( p < .09) interaction of felt pressure × sex. This interaction contributed to our decision to examine relations between the gender identity measures and the adjustment variables separately for each sex. However, there is another way to examine the interactive influence of felt pressure and sex on global self-worth. This is to test the significance of the sex difference in global self-worth at each of several levels (e.g., −1 SD, 0 SD, and +1 SD) of felt pressure. When this is done, there is a significant ( p < .05) sex difference in global self-worth, with boys scoring higher than girls, only when felt pressure is high. This finding may be important. It is known that in early adolescence girls begin to score lower on global self-worth than boys (Harter, 1998). The present result raises the possibility that it is predominantly children who feel strong pressure for gender conformity who are contributing to the sex difference in self-esteem. 9 Indeed, when the significance of the sex difference in externalizing problems is tested at each of three levels (−1 SD, 0 SD, and +1 SD ) of felt pressure, a significant sex difference, with boys scoring higher than girls, is found only when felt pressure is high ( p < .05).

Gender Identity and Adjustment Moreover, for each sex, any given peer-reported adjustment index was associated with no more than one gender identity measure. For boys, internalizing problems were associated only with low gender typicality; externalizing problems were not associated with any gender identity measure; agentic traits were linked only with high gender typicality; and communal traits were tied only to high felt pressure. For girls, internalizing problems were associated only with low gender typicality; externalizing problems, only with low gender contentedness; agentic traits, only with high felt pressure; and communal traits, only with high gender typicality. Most of these findings were predicted (all except the link for girls between externalizing conduct and gender contentedness). Associations between the gender identity measures and the self-reported adjustment indexes, however, were more numerous (see Table IV). Because certain of the gender identity measures were correlated with one another (Table II), for each sex a multiple regression analysis was run on each self-esteem measure in which all four gender identity measures were entered as simultaneous predictors (with age controlled). This strategy permits assessing the significance of each gender identity variable with the effects of the other three controlled. For boys, global self-worth was significantly predicted only by gender contentedness (pr = .21, p < .05), and self-perceived peer social competence was predicted only by gender typicality (pr = .43, p < .001). For girls, however, two gender identity measures made independent contributions to each measure of self-esteem: gender contentedness and felt pressure were both independent predictors of global self-worth (pr = .34, p < .001 and pr = −.29, p < .002, respectively), and gender typicality and felt pressure both independently predicted self-perceived peer social competence (pr = .45, p < .001 and pr = −.30, p < .002, respectively). Collectively, then, the gender identity variables accounted for considerably more of the variance in the selfesteem measures for girls than for boys.

105 conceptually meaningful relations with one or more of the indexes of psychosocial adjustment. Because gender identity was self-reported and social behavior was peer-reported, these associations cannot be attributed to shared method variance. These results strengthen the construct and discriminant validity of the gender identity constructs (and scales) and indicate that longitudinal work designed to reveal likely directions of causal influence would be a worthwhile next research step. Below we briefly highlight the significance of the main findings for each gender identity construct.

Gender Typicality The hypothesis that perceiving the self to be a typical member of the same-sex peer group is important to the psychological well-being of preadolescent children was strongly supported. Children who reported feeling different from same-sex peers not only voiced distress over their peer relations but indeed were perceived by peers as depressed, anxious, self-deprecating, and victimized. The association between low gender typicality and internalized distress was magnified when children reported strong pressure for gender conformity, but it was still evident for children who reported relatively little felt pressure. These results challenge the view that it is harmful for children to view themselves as strongly gendertypical. The belief that a perception of the self as strongly gender-typical is harmful is probably rooted in the mistaken assumption that a perception of the self as gender-typical necessarily reflects strong internalized, self-limiting social pressure for gender conformity (Bem, 1981). The present data (as well as the data of Egan & Perry, 2001) indicate not only that gender typicality and felt pressure are uncorrelated but also that these two components of gender identity relate to adjustment in opposite ways; high gender typicality is associated with favorable adjustment, and high felt pressure is associated with negative outcomes. Consistent with expectation, gender typicality was positively associated with agentic traits for boys and with communal traits for girls. Although this pattern supports the view that a sense of gender typicality rests in part on the self-perception of salient gender-linked attributes, longitudinal work is needed to determine whether gender-linked personality traits actually help shape feelings of gender typicality over time.

DISCUSSION The results go beyond the findings of Egan and Perry (2001) by demonstrating that expected relationships exist between the gender identity measures and specific social behaviors exhibited in peer interaction. Three of the four gender identity measures (gender typicality, gender contentedness, and felt pressure for gender conformity) bore discriminated and

106 Felt Pressure As pointed out above, the present results reinforce the conclusion of Egan and Perry (2001) that the real culprit where gender identity is concerned is not the sense that one is similar to same-sex others but rather the sense that one must avoid crossgender-typed activities. Harmful effects of felt pressure for gender conformity were evident in three ways. First, for both sexes, strong felt pressure appeared to pathologize a low sense of gender typicality (and a low sense of gender contentedness), because the association between low gender typicality (and low gender contentedness) and internalizing problems was considerably stronger for children who reported high felt pressure than for children who placed less emphasis on gender conformity. Second, felt pressure bore a direct negative relation with self-esteem, at least for girls. It is likely that felt pressure causes girls to veer away from masculine-typed activities and behaviors (e.g., assertion, risk-taking) that bring prestige, excitement, and self-efficacy for coping with challenge and stress (Bussey & Bandura, 1999). Third, and consistent with the foregoing point, felt pressure was associated with reduced agentic behavior for girls and with reduced communal behavior for boys. These results suggest that felt pressure for gender conformity is potentially a damaging force in children’s (especially girls’) lives, at least in largely European American and middle-class populations of the sort studied here. Longitudinal work designed to corroborate that felt pressure predicts deterioration in selected aspects of children’s adjustment over time is clearly warranted. Another crucial task for future research is to identify the determinants of felt pressure for gender conformity. Several possibilities come to mind. First, general developmental delay may cause some children to be slow to outgrow the strong felt pressure that is normative during the preschool years. Second, socializing agents (e.g., parents) may place pressure for gender typing on some children, which causes them to introject the sanctions. However, it is important to appreciate that the felt pressure measure is a unifactorial scale that taps felt pressure from diverse sources (parents, peers, and self; Egan & Perry, 2001). This suggests that felt pressure does not necessarily mirror specific social learning experiences but rather is a cognitive construction “that goes beyond the data” to take the form of a widely generalized rule about the inappropriateness of engaging in cross-gendertyped behavior. Third, adverse experiences in the peer

Carver, Yunger, and Perry group, such as rejection or victimization by peers, may cause children to search for ways to fit in; some children may conclude that adhering more stringently to gender roles is the answer. Gender Contentedness Two findings with the gender contentedness variable are worth note. First, gender contentedness was a robust predictor of global self-worth (when all four gender identity measures were entered as simultaneous predictors). A sense of not being at home in one’s body or a strong wish to engage in the activities, interpersonal roles, or even the nonverbal stylistic behaviors (e.g., modes of speech, gesture, and dress) associated with the other sex apparently is uniquely depressing to children (and especially so if they feel strong pressure for gender conformity). A second noteworthy finding concerning gender contentedness was that gender-dysphoric girls were named by peers as more aggressive, disruptive, and argumentative (i.e., as having more externalizing problems) than other girls. It is unclear whether the girls’ aggression is a reaction to dissatisfaction with being a girl or whether gender discontentment is a rationalization by aggressive girls (“If only I were a boy, it would be okay for me to act like this.”). If this finding replicates in subsequent research, it will be important to untangle the direction of causality. Intergroup Bias Intergroup bias was unrelated to any adjustment index. Egan and Perry (2001) found signs of poorer adjustment (i.e., lower self-perceived peer social competence and less acceptance by male peers) for children who expressed the belief that their sex was superior to the other, but there was no evidence in the present study that ingroup favoritism was disadvantageous to adjustment. Although ingroup favoritism may not be reliably linked directly with the indexes of adjustment studied here, it may serve as an important moderator of the effects of certain contextual cues on children’s functioning. For example, children with strong intergroup bias may be less likely to cooperate, or more likely to compete, with other-sex peers, or they may have more difficulty resolving conflicts or forming intimate relations with other-sex persons (Bigler, 1995; Powlishta, 1995). These possibilities might be explored in subsequent research.

Gender Identity and Adjustment Conclusions This study yielded a rich set of theoretically meaningful and discriminated relations between the components of gender identity and multiple indexes of personal and social adjustment within the peer group. Many of the relations suggest the operation of causal processes that, if confirmed in subsequent longitudinal research, are of considerable social significance. The potentially deleterious effects of felt pressure for gender conformity on preadolescent girls’ self-esteem and agentic competencies is especially a matter for concern. However, until the necessary longitudinal work is conducted, it is important not to assume the operation of any specific causal process. The results of the present investigation indicate only that longitudinal work on causal processes is warranted, not that the putative causal processes are indeed responsible for the associations. Below we briefly restate the value of a multidimensional model of gender identity and tell how the results support such a model. We then comment on how the present multidimensional perspective fits with other influential perspectives on gender. A multidimensional approach to gender identity is valuable because it draws attention to the fact that gender identity development does not reduce to the unfolding of a single entity but rather involves the development of several component entities. Some of these components are more normative at certain developmental periods than at others. As early as middle childhood, healthy gender identity development entails a rebalancing act—letting go of developmentally immature forms of gender identity (i.e., felt pressure for gender conformity and intergroup bias), consolidating one’s contentment with one’s gender assignment, and grappling successfully with the challenges posed by the newly emerging ability and urge to compare oneself with same-sex others on gendertypical attributes (i.e., perceiving sufficient gendertyped qualities in the self to feel comfortably gender typical). Moreover, how certain gender identity components are configured relative to one another in the child’s psyche carries important implications for mental health; the combination of high felt pressure and low felt gender typicality (or low gender contentedness) is particularly problematic for children’s psychological well-being. The data of the present study support key points of the foregoing analysis. During the preadolescent

107 age period studied, intergroup bias and felt pressure for gender conformity—normative components of gender identity in earlier years—decreased with age, whereas gender typicality and gender contentedness increased with age. Most of these components of gender identity (all except intergroup bias) were differentially associated in theoretically expected ways not only with self-esteem but also with peer reports of specific modes of adaptation within the peer group. For the past quarter century, theory and research that link gender identity to adjustment have been dominated by androgyny theory, or the notion that mental health is promoted by a perception of the self as both masculine and feminine (e.g., Bem, 1981). Conceptual and methodological problems have characterized this approach, however. These problems have been reviewed extensively by Egan and Perry (2001) and by Spence (1985, 1993; Spence & Buckner, 1995) and will not be reiterated here. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to underscore briefly several central differences between the androgyny approach and the present one. First, the androgyny perspective regards an overall sense of same-gender typicality as orthogonal to an overall sense of other-gender typicality. For reasons discussed by Egan and Perry (2001, pp. 460–461), it is unlikely that the two summary senses of same- and other-gender typicality are orthogonal dimensions; it is more likely that they function as opposite ends of a single continuum (e.g., with a strong sense of other-gender typicality implying reduced same-gender typicality). It is for this reason that Egan and Perry developed only a single, unidimensional measure of gender typicality. Second, androgyny researchers believe that it is possible to infer an individual’s overall senses of same- and othergender typicality (e.g., a boy’s felt “masculinity” and “femininity”) from self-perceptions in a single domain of sex typing, namely, personality traits. That is, self-perceived agentic traits presumably index one’s overall felt masculinity, and self-perceptions of communal traits presumably index one’s overall felt femininity. In contrast, in the present approach, children’s self-perceived overall gender typicality reflects an idiosyncratic integration of diverse information about one’s gender typing in multiple domains (e.g., one child may assign great weight to self-perceived nonverbal stylistic qualities but only little weight to selfperceived agentic or communal traits, whereas another child may employ a different calculus). Thus, in the present approach, gender typicality is assessed in a global summary sense, not in terms of self-perception

108 of any specific aspect of gender typing.10 Third, in the androgyny approach, felt pressure for gender conformity is believed to be inferable from the degree of balance between one’s overall felt masculinity and one’s overall felt femininity, and therefore there is no need to measure felt pressure independently of felt gender typicality. In other words, it is assumed that people who perceive themselves as highly same-sex typical (and as low other-sex typical) are the way they are because they are experiencing high felt pressure. Because of this reasoning, androgyny researchers predict that persons high in gender typicality will be disadvantaged in development—they presumably are experiencing the high felt pressure for gender conformity that straightjackets healthy development of self. In the present perspective, there is no necessary relation between self-perceived gender typicality and felt pressure for gender conformity, and thus it is clearly important to assess felt pressure and gender typicality using different measures. Moreover, gender typicality and felt pressure are believed to have opposite effects on mental health. Despite their profound differences in conceptual assumptions and research methodologies, both the androgyny perspective and the present one share an important prediction—that felt pressure for gender conformity is harmful, especially for girls. This hypothesis has now received preliminary (concurrent correlational) support from two studies that have used a separate direct measure of felt pressure—the Egan and Perry (2001) study and the present one. However, confirmation of the hypothesis that felt pressure promotes maladjustment—a hypothesis that originated with androgyny theory—does not imply confirmation of the androgyny theorists’ companion hypothesis that perceiving the self to be strongly gender typical is also harmful. Results of the Egan and Perry and present studies in fact are more consistent with the

Carver, Yunger, and Perry view that feeling gender typical is salutary rather than harmful, at least among children of the ages studied here. In recent years, a trend in the study of gender effects in social cognition and social behavior has been a focus on contextual influences (Deaux & LaFrance, 1998; Deaux & Major, 1987; Maccoby, 1998). For example, the sex of one’s interaction partner(s), such as the ratio of boys to girls in a play group or the ratio of men to women in a work place, is a major influence on gender-relevant cognitions and action tendencies. The study of context effects is sometimes presented as an approach to researching gender that is alternative to an approach that rests on the appreciation of individual differences in gender identity. However, advances in understanding gender are likely to derive from researching contextual and identity factors conjointly rather than separately. There are various ways that context and identity might work together to affect behavior. Gender identity might affect the contexts that children choose or create for themselves. Gender identity might also mediate or, more likely, moderate contextual influences on children’s behavior. For example, gender typicality might moderate children’s tendencies to imitate, or to infer their selfefficacy from, models of a particular sex; gender contentedness or felt pressure might govern children’s willingness to perform rewarding cross-gender options when pitted against lower-paying same-gender options; intergroup bias might predict the degree to which children engage in uncooperative or hostile interactions with other-sex persons or groups. It is also possible that combinations of gender identity components govern reactions to contextual cues. For example, boys and men who experience high felt pressure for gender conformity along with high intergroup bias might be especially prone to have hostile reactions to ambiguous provocations by girls and women, thereby encouraging abuse of female interaction partners (Capaldi, Dishion, Stoolmiller, & Yoerger, 2001). Thus, the study of context and the study of gender identity should proceed hand in hand.

10 The

fact that self-perceived agentic traits are relatively uncorrelated with self-perceived communal traits encouraged androgyny researchers to view overall same-sex typicality and overall othersex typicality as orthogonal dimensions. However, for many domains of gender typing other than personality traits, male-typical behavior and female-typical behavior may be strongly negatively correlated rather than orthogonal. For example, among adults a preference for female sex partners (male-typical sexual orientation) and a preference for male sex partners (female-typical sexual orientation) tend to be strongly negatively correlated rather than uncorrelated. In any case, for reasons summarized by Egan and Perry (2001), self-perceptions of overall same-gender typicality and of overall other-gender typicality are more likely to be negatively related than to be orthogonal.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We thank the teachers and students of the A. D. Henderson University School for their generous cooperation with this project. This research was supported by Grant 1RO1HD38280 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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