The relationship of age, gender and professional role to masculinity and femininity in clinical psychologists



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


The dominant model for training clinical psychologists is to train them as both scientists and practitioners. However, there is current debate over the feasibility of individual clinical psychologists filling both roles. Conceptually, the scientist role can be linked to masculinity and the practitioner role to femininity. The purpose of the present study was to compare scientists and practitioners with regard to masculinity, femininity, and related sex role variables.

The experimental design was a three-way factorial analysis of variance with two levels of age ("older" and "younger"), two levels of gender (male and female), and two levels of role (scientist and practitioner). Following an initial global analysis, subjects were divided by gender, and masculinity and/or femininity were added for secondary analyses. Other variables examined were (a) personal therapy and its rated importance, (b) scholarly activity, (c) reasons for career choice, (d) marital status, (e) number of children, (f) parental descriptions, and, (g) problems in family of origin.

Based on questionnaire responses, 272 American Psychological Association members with doctorates in clinical psychology were assigned to experimental groups (n = 34 for each of eight groups). Results indicated that for females, the scientist role was significantly related to one of five masculinity factors examined, with ratings on the others factors in the same direction. Femininity was related to the practitioner role by two of three femininity factors. Relationships were to the peripheral, rather than the core, aspects of masculinity and femininity. Other results indicated that (a) for females, masculinity was related to number of publications, (b) masculinity and femininity were related to reasons for career choice and parental descriptions, (c) for younger subjects, role was related to number of children, and (d) for males, role was related to number of personal problems reported.

Although significant differences between roles were found for sex role variables, relationships were generally weak. With regard to their families, scientists and practitioners did not differ in the ways they described their parents or in the types of problems in their families of origin. Results were interpreted as providing no basis for discarding the scientist-practitioner model of training.



Clinical psychologists, Masculinity, Self-perception, Sex role, Femininity