Previous studies of “sex role” and well-being have yielded mixed results on the relationship between expressive traits and well-being. This may be due to methodological inconsistencies, problems inherent in early sex role inventories, and narrow definitions of well-being. This study assessed the relationship between the instrumental and expressive traits on the Short Bem Sex Role Inventory (SBSRI) and a composite picture of well-being, including depression, positive affect, affect balance, life satisfaction, and affect intensity, in a sample of primarily white middle-class college students. The two scales of the SBSRI predicted most aspects of well-being equally well, yielding two independent main effects. The expressive scale was the only significant predictor of affect intensity. Expressiveness scores were positively correlated with affect intensity overall, and with positive affect intensity in particular. It is suggested that the SBSRI is tapping two factors of a general positive self-schema, rather than sex role per se.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Abramson, L. Y., Seligman, M. E. P., & Teasdale, J. D. (1978). Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 87, 49–74.
Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B (1976). Social indicators of well-being, New York: Plenum Press.
Antill, J. K., & Cunningham, J. D. (1979). Self-esteem as a function of masculinity in both sexes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 47, 783–785.
Bargh, J. A., & Tota, M. E. (1988). Context-dependent automatic processing in depression: Accessibility of negative constructs with regard to self but not to others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 925–939.
Baucom, D. H. (1983). Sex role identity and the decision to regain control among women: A learned helplessness investigation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 334–343.
Baucom, D. H., & Danker-Brown, P. (1979). Influence of sex roles on the development of learned helplessness. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 47, 928–936.
Baucom, D. H., & Danker-Brown, P. (1984). Sex role identify and sex-stereotyped tasks in the development of learned helplessness in women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 422–430.
Baucom, D. H., & Weiss, B. (1986). Peers' granting of control to women with different sex role identities: Implications for depression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1075–1080.
Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77–100.
Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychology, 4, 53–63.
Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162.
Bem, S. L. (1975). Sex role adaptability: One consequence of psychological androgyny. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 634–643.
Bem, S. L. (1977). On the utility of alternative procedures for assessing psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45, 196–205.
Bem, S. L. (1979). Theory and measurement of androgyny: A reply to the Pedhazur-Tetenbaum and Locksley-Colten critiques. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1047–1054.
Bem, S. L. (1984). Androgyny and gender schema theory: A conceptual and empirical integration. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 32, 179–226.
Bem, S. L., Martyna, W., & Watson, C. (1976). Sex typing and androgyny: Further exploration of the expressive domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 1016–1023.
Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Chicago: Aldine.
Campbell, A. (1981). The sense of well-being in America: Recent patterns and trends. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Conway, M., Giannopoulos, C., & Stienfenhofer, K. (1990). Response styles to sadness are related to sex and sex-role orientation. Sex Roles, 22, 579–587.
Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.
Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1985). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1105–1117.
Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.
Diener, E., Colving, C. R., Pavot, W. G., & Allman, A. (1991). The psychic costs of intense positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 492–503.
Diener, E., Larsen, R. J., Levine, S., & Emmons, R. A. (1985). Intensity and frequency: Dimensions underlying positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 1253–1265.
Downing, N. E. (1979). Theoretical and operational conceptualizations of psychological androgyny: Implications for measurement. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 3, 284–292.
Dunlap, W. P., & Kemery, E. R. (1987). Failure to detect moderating effects: Is multicollinearity the problem? Psychological Bulletin, 102, 418–420.
Elpern, S., & Karp, S. A. (1984). Sex-role orientation and depressive symptomatology. Sex Roles, 10, 987–992.
Feather, N. T. (1985). Masculinity, femininity, self-esteem and subclinical depression. Sex Roles, 12, 491–500.
Frable, D. E. S., & Bem, S. L. (1985). If you are gender schematic, all members of the opposite sex look alike. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 459–468.
Gaa, J. P., Liberman, D., & Erdwins, T. A. (1979). A comparative factor analysis of the Bem Sex Role Inventory and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 35, 592–598.
Ganong, L. H., & Coleman, M. (1984). Sex, sex roles and emotional expressiveness. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 146, 405–411.
Gaudreau, P. (1977). Factor analysis of the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45, 299–302.
Haaga, D. A. F., Dyck, M. J., & Ernst, D. (1991). Empirical status of cognitive theory of depression. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 215–236.
Hall, J. A., & Taylor, M. C. (1985). Psychological Androgyny and the Masculinity × Femininity Interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 429–435.
Hammen, C. L., & Padesky, C. A. (1977). Sex differences in expression of depressive responses on the Beck Depression Inventory. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 86, 609–614.
Hammen, D., Marks, T., deMayo, P., & Mayol, A. (1985). Self-schemas and risk for depression: A prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1147–1159.
Kelly, J. A., Furman, W., & Young, V. (1978). Problems associated with the typological measures of sex roles and androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 46, 1574–1576.
Kuiper, N. A., & Higgins, E. T. (1985). Social cognition and depression: A general integrative perspective. Social Cognition, 1, 223–239.
Larsen, R. J., & Diener, E. (1987). Affect intensity as an individual difference characteristic: A review. Journal of Research in Personality, 21, 1–39.
Lubinsky, D., Tellegen, A., & Butcher, J. N. (1981). The relationship between androgyny and subjective indicators of emotional well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 722–730.
Mugford, S. K., & Lally, J. (1981). Sex, reported happiness, and the well-being of married individuals: A test of Bernard's hypothesis in an Australian sample. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 43, 969–975.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1987). Sex differences in unipolar depression: evidence and theory. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 259–282.
Orlofsky, J. L., Aslin, A. L., & Ginsburg, S. D. (1977). Differential effectiveness of two classification procedures on the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 41, 414–416.
Parsons, T., & Bales, R. F. (1955). Family, socialization and interaction process. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Payne, F. D., & Futterman, J. R. (1983). “Masculinity,” “femininity,” and adjustment in college men. Journal of Research in Personality, 17, 110–124.
Pedhazur, E. J., & Tetenbaum, T. J. (1979). Bem Sex Role Inventory: A theoretical and methodological critique. Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 37, 996–1017.
Pidano, A. E., & Tennen, H. (1985). Transient depressive experiences and their relationship to gender and sex role orientation. Sex Roles, 12, 97–110.
Pyke, S. W. (1985). Androgyny: An integration. International Journal of Women's Studies, 8, 529–539.
Radloff, L. S. & Monroe, M. K. (1978). Sex differences in helplessness—with implications for depression. Career Development and Counseling of Women, Edited by Hansen, S., & Rapoza, R.
Radloff, L. S., & Rae, D. S. (1979). Susceptibility and precipitating factors in depression: Sex differences and similarities. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88, 174–181.
Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081.
Segal, Z. V. (1988). Appraisal of the self-schema construct in cognitive models of depression. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 147–162.
Spence, J. T. (1991). Do the BSRI and PAQ measure the same or different concepts? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15, 141–165.
Spence, J. T. (1993). Gender-related traits and gender ideology: Evidence for a multifactorial theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 624–635.
Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1979). On assessing “androgyny.” Sex Roles, 5, 721–737.
Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1983). Beyond face validity: A comment on Nicholls, Licht & Pearl. Psychology Bulletin, 94, 181–184.
Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1980). Masculine instrumentality and feminine expressiveness: Their relationships with sex attitudes and behaviors. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 5, 147–163.
Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R. L., & Stapp, J. (1974). The Personal Attributes Questionnaire. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 4, 127.
Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R. L., & Stapp, J. (1975). Ratings of self and peers on sex role attributes and their relation to self-esteem and conceptions of masculinity and femininity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 29–39.
Stacey, C. A., & Gatz, M. (1991). Cross-sectional age differences and longitudinal change on the Bradburn Affect Balance Scale. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 46, 76–78.
Stangler, R. S., & Printz, A. M. (1980). DSM-III: Psychiatric diagnosis in a university population. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137, 937–940.
Stoppard, J. M., & Paisley, K. J. (1987). Masculinity, femininity, life stress and depression. Sex Roles, 16, 489–495.
Taylor, M. C., & Hall, J. A. (1982). Psychological androgyny: Theories, methods and conclusions. Psychological Bulletin, 92, 347–366.
Tellegen, A. (1982). Brief Manual for the Differential Personality Questionnaire. Unpublished manuscript, University of Minnesota.
Tellegen, A., & Waller, N. G. (in preparation). Exploring personality through test construction. In S. R. Briggs & J. M. Cheek (eds.), Omnibus measures of personality.
Tinsley, E. G., Sullivan-Guest, S., & McGuire, J. (1984). Feminine sex roles and depression in middle-aged women. Sex Roles, 11, 25–32.
Thompson, B. (1989). Meta-analysis of factor structure studies: A case example with Bem's androgyny measure. Journal of Experimental Education, 57, 187–197.
Thompson, B., & Melancon, J. (1986). Factor structure of the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 19, 77–83.
Warr, P., Barter, J., & Brownbridge, G. (1983). On the independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 644–651.
Weissman, M. M., & Klerman, G. L. (1977). Sex differences in the epidemiology of depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 98–111.
Whetton, C., & Swindels, T. (1977). A factor analysis of the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33, 150–153.
Whitley, B. E. (1983). Sex role orientation and self-esteem: A critical metal-analytic review. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 765–778.
Whitley, B. E. (1985). Sex role orientation and psychological well-being: Two meta-analyses. Sex Roles, 12, 207–225.
Whitley, B. E. (1988). Masculinity, femininity and self-esteem: A multitrait-multimethod analysis. Sex Roles, 18, 419–431.
Zevon, M. A., & Tellegen, A. (1982). The structure of mood change: An ideographic/nomothetic analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 111–122.
Funds for this study were provided by the University of Pennsylvania Psychology Department. Many thanks to Martin Seligman and Janet Spence for their helpful comments on several drafts. Thanks also to Jay Hull and George Wolford for their help with statistical queries.
About this article
Cite this article
Hunt, M.G. Expressiveness does predict well-being. Sex Roles 29, 147–169 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289933
- College Student
- Life Satisfaction
- Social Psychology
- Positive Affect