Predictors of Sex-Role Stereotypes
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A construct is a persons “unique way of looking at life”, constant hypothesis of what will happen in the future because of personal historys consequences. From this, stems an individuals locus of control. Whether it is internal or external shows a persons beliefs and attitudes towards life. A particular opinion one forms is their view of what men and women “should do.”
Harrison (1981) believed personality characteristics form sex-role attitudes. Mens sex role stereotypes tend to be instrumental factors and female stereotypes correspond to expressive factors. For example, men tend to be thought of and try to be “rational, competent, and assertive.” Women tend to be stereotyped as “warm, interdependent, interpersonally skilled, and interested in others.” Evidence indicates that behavior and attitudes of people that fit these stereotypes have a positive correlation with high self-esteem. Conversely, people who dont fall in their stereotypes experience societys negativity towards them leading to a lower self-esteem. Harrison argued Rotters (1966) definitions of internal and external locus of control were consistent with the sex-role stereotypes. The masculine instrumental factors correlate with internal locus of control, and the feminine expressive factors correlate with external locus of control. Therefore, attitudes towards sex roles should be related to locus of control. Rotter described internal locus of control to be a belief that reinforcement is dictated by ones own behavior. To have an external locus of control is to believe reinforcement is provided by other means such as people, fate, or luck. There are also research findings that show a positive correlation between internal locus of control and high self-esteem. Conversely, the study indicates a positive correlation between external locus of control and low self-esteem. From this evidence, he hypothesized that self-esteem and locus of control should be good predictors of attitudes towards womens sex roles.
An alternate hypothesis of the relationship between locus of control, self-esteem, and women sex-role attitudes is they are formed by unique social experiences and training, culturally influenced, and passed from generation to generation. Throughout life, a persons experiences, situations and environments are all learning tools for future decisions (Broverman & Rokeach 1973). These values are “modeled and integrated into a value system (Allport & Ross 1967). Geographical factors such as age, gender, religion, class, race, and political upbringing are important in the development of a persons value system. The fact that people experience these factors in varying degrees is why people develop different values and attitudes. Slevin and Wingrove (1983) report the womens liberation movement has had a huge impact on the development and change of peoples sex role stereotypes. There is also evidence suggesting mothers have a small impact on their daughters sex-role attitudes. There are many other influences such as age and years of education.
Baker and Terpstra (1986) conducted an experiment contrasting the two hypotheses of sex-role attitudes. Hypothesis 1 was tested by Harrison; attitudes toward women are related to locus of control, self-esteem, and their interactions with one another. Hypothesis 2, tested by Broverman & Rokeach, suggests attitudes towards women are related to age, gender, religion, and education. Their subjects consisted of 101 male and 69 female business majors at two western universities. There were also 9 male and 30 female staff and faculty members of those institutions. Age ranged from 18 to 59 years. The average education level is 3.4 years of college. The subjects were asked to provide their demographic data and religious views. They were also given a series of standardized tests. The AWS,