The impact of women's single adult status and religious orientation on self-attributes of masculinity
Kennedy, William Thomas
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Early research in the area of sex-role self-perception and self-esteem depended upon a unidimensional theory. High self-esteem would correlate with high masculinity in men and with high femininity in women. A new theory began to emerge in the early 1970's which emphasized the importance of both masculinity and femininity as components of self-esteem. Expansions of this theory included the use of a cognitive schema for processing gender related situations. This schema is thought to be relatively enduring and influential in behavioral reactions to gender related situations. Cross-sectional surveys indicate that situational variables are likely to influence sex-role self-perception. This appears to run contrary to the assertion of the enduring nature of a gender schema. Married couples without children have been found to differ in their self-perceptions from parents. A question was raised in this study whether different groups of single adults would also differ. Both never-married and single parent women must perform masculine tasks in order to keep up a household. This study examined whether they would differ in masculine self-report on responses of a sex-role inventory. This study also concerned itself with the influence of one's religious orientation upon masculine self-perception. Two groups were measured. One group uses religion to meet its own needs. The other group is sensitive to allowing the teachings of their religion to guide behavior. Such a difference could provide a difference particularly on masculine self-perception among single women. An analysis of covariance was conducted using religious orientation and single adult status as independent variables. Masculine scores from the Bern Sex-Role Inventory made up the dependent variable. The variables of age and income were used as covariates. Results of the analysis showed that no differences occurred with respect to religious orientation. Single adult status approached significance. These results were discussed in terms of further research on covariates of the single adult groups and more developmental research on gender scehema theory.