An exploratory analysis of the construct of gender role identity among adolescents

Alisa Nicolle Samuels-Stein, Fordham University


The study explored the construct of gender role identity as perceived by adolescents through analysis of characteristics they generated and attributed to the categories of masculinity, femininity, and androgyny (combination of both). Then the masculinity, femininity, and desirability of each of these characteristics for boys and girls by boys and girls were examined. In Phase 1, a survey was distributed to 28 adolescents (mean age = 15.8 years) that assessed their perceptions of what characteristics described gender identity. During Phase 2, 188 students (mean age = 15.8) were administered a different questionnaire and asked to rate adjectives on a Likert-type scale based on the extent to which they perceived items to relate to masculinity, femininity, and desirability all within a social context. Repeated measures analysis of variance demonstrated that the appropriateness of each item as a measure of gender role identity varied. Many of the items continued to have high mean masculinity/femininity and/or desirability ratings for “boys only” or “girls only.” However, there were items that had high mean ratings on both masculinity and femininity and were desirable for both sexes. Also, additional items were generated by the participants, illustrating that there were other variables influencing their gender role identity. In summary, a valid and appropriate definition of gender role identity continues to remain unclear, particularly for adolescents. As discussed in the past literature, the Bem Sex Role Inventory and the construct of gender role identity in general, may be more multidimensional in nature.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Samuels-Stein, Alisa Nicolle, "An exploratory analysis of the construct of gender role identity among adolescents" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3040403.