Psychological gender : the relationship between sex-role and gender identity

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The study is based on psychoanalytic theory of the development of gender identity. The basic premise is that there are at least two levels of gender-related identity, viz. gender identity and sex-role. Thirty-three male and thirty-nine female university students participated in the study. They were asked to complete questionnaires designed to measure gender identity, sex-role and sexual orientation. Gender identity was measured by means of fantasy patterns which emerge in story-telling. The Bern Sex-Role Inventory was used to measure sex-role. Subjects' sexual orientations were described with the aid of the Kinsey Seven-Point Rating Scale. Results indicate a number of unanticipated complexities which need further investigation. The type of picture used in the measurement of gender identity seems to determine whether or not a subject's true gender identity will emerge or whether it will be distorted. There is a relationship between sex-role and gender identity, but it is indirect. The gender identities of persons whose sex-roles are feminine, masculine or undifferentiated tend to conform to biological sex. Persons whose sex-roles are androgynous, however, tend towards feminine gender identity whatever their biological sex. Further research is recommended to confirm or refute these results.

Bibliography: leaves 100-113.