Preadolescents' gender typicality: an exploration of multidimensionality

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The goal of this study was to explore the multidimensionality of gender typicality and its relation to preadolescents’ psychological adjustment. With a sample of 378 6th grade students (52% male; M age = 11.44, SD = .56; 48% White),

The goal of this study was to explore the multidimensionality of gender typicality and its relation to preadolescents’ psychological adjustment. With a sample of 378 6th grade students (52% male; M age = 11.44, SD = .56; 48% White), I examined how four specific dimensions of gender typicality (behavior, appearance, activities, and peer preference) predict children’s global sense of typicality; whether children’s global sense of gender typicality, behavior, appearance, activities, and peer preference are differentially predictive of self-esteem, social preference, and relationship efficacy; and whether examining typicality of the other gender is important to add to own-gender typicality. Regression analyses indicated that all four specific typicality dimensions contributed to preadolescents’ overall sense of own- and other-gender typicality (except appearance for own-gender typicality). Generally, all domains of gender typicality were related to the four adjustment outcomes. Own-gender typicality related more strongly to self-esteem, social preference, and own-gender relationship efficacy than did other-gender typicality; other-gender typicality was more strongly related to other-gender relationship efficacy. Relations between typicality and adjustment were stronger for gender-based relationship efficacy than for self-esteem or social preference. Although some differences existed, relations between typicality and adjustment were generally similar across typicality domains. Results implicate the need to measure other-gender typicality in addition to own-gender typicality. Additional contributions and suggestions for future research are discussed.