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Role perceptions: Variations by sex and roles

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A Role Perception Scale utilizing a combined projective-objective methodology was developed to assess female and male perceptions of each of three single roles — work, marriage, and parent — and two combined roles — work-marriage and work-parent. Research participants were 134 college students, 88 females and 46 males. Factor analysis of the objective scale, the only part to be scored, resulted in two major orthogonal factors labeled role engagement and competition factors. Sex and role differences for each factor were analyzed using 2×5 split block analysis of variance design with repeated measures. On three out of the five single and combined roles women perceived more engagement than men. In general males perceived roles as more competitive. These sex differences and patterns identified in within-sex analyses across roles are discussed.

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Correspondence to Mary Sue Richardson.

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Richardson, M.S., Alpert, J.L. Role perceptions: Variations by sex and roles. Sex Roles 6, 783–793 (1980).

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  • College Student
  • Repeated Measure
  • Social Psychology
  • Variance Design
  • Research Participant