Having and Doing Gender: Young Adults ’ Expression of Gender when Resolving Conflicts with Friends and Romantic Partners

AbstractA communal orientation focusing on others is consistent with stereotypes of women ’s social roles and personality traits, whereas an agentic orientation focusing more exclusively on oneself is consistent with men’s roles and traits. Using survey methods, we drew from Sandra Bem’s ideas to investigate whether gender differences in endorsement of communal and agentic conflict -management strategies varied depending on the peer relationship context. When gender differences were found, we investigated whether they were accounted for by masculine and feminine personality traits. College students (N = 116; 49 men and 67 women, 18–24 years-old) from the U.S. mid-Atlantic region rated stereotyped masculine and feminine traits as well as communal and agentic strategies for resolving hypothetical contexts in three peer contexts: same-gender friend, other-gender friend, and other-gender romant ic partner. When conflicts involved a same-gender friend, women rated communal strategies higher than did men, but men’s and women’s ratings of communal strategies were similar in the other peer contexts. When conflicts involved an other-gender friend or romantic partner, women rated agentic str ategies higher than did men, but men’s and women’s ratings of agentic strategies were similar when the conflict involved a same-gender friend. Women’s greater endorsement of communal strategies for managing conflicts with a same-g...
Source: Sex Roles - Category: Global & Universal Source Type: research

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