Most empirical research examining youth’s gender development measures felt pressure to conform to gender norms using a composite value of felt pressure from multiple sources; however, because of the different socialization processes at work from parents, peers, and the self, analyzing these sources separately may elucidate different effects on gender development. Thus, the purpose of this study was to (a) differentiate the effects of perceived gender socialization pressure from parents, peers, and the self on early adolescents’ own- and other-gender typicality, and (b) to examine whether a bi-directional relation between gender typicality and felt pressure is evident when distinguished across sources. With a sample of 212 early adolescents (54% girls; Mage = 11.11 years), felt pressure was found to be distinguishable by socialization source: adolescents’ perceptions of parents, peers, and their own pressures were distinct, and each contributed differently to gender development. Pressure from self and peers were both found to relate concurrently to typicality (i.e., positively to own-gender typicality, negatively to other-gender typicality); only pressure from the self was found to have a longitudinal effect on adolescents’ developing gender identity (i.e., an increase in own-gender typicality). Interestingly, other-gender typicality did not elicit higher felt pressure; in fact, it was negatively related to later felt pressure from the self, suggesting that adolescents may be developing self-acceptance of their levels of gender typicality. The findings suggest that the development of gender identity may involve a complex interplay with various sources of socialization pressures (e.g., parent, peers, self), and may further shift in relation to the adolescent’s own levels of gender typicality.
Early adolescence Gender development Felt pressure Gender typicality Gender identity Gender socialization
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R.E.C. conceived of the study, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; M.G.N. aided in conceptualization and helped draft the manuscript; C.L.M. participated in its design and participated in the interpretation of the data; D.D. designed the study, conducted data collection, and participated in the interpretation of the data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Data Sharing Declaration
The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Funding for this research was provided by the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Arizona State University IRB, STUDY00001416) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained for all individual participants included in the study.
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