ERIC Number: ED335606
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Gender Stereotypes and Power: Perceptions of the Roles in Violent Marriages.
Gerber, Gwendolyn L.
This study examined the hypothesis that the reason people believe the two sexes have different personality traits is because they enact roles that vary in power. Men usually enact a dominant role, expressing personality traits of self-assertion or agency, while women usually enact a subordinate role, expressing the personality traits of accommodation or communion. An earlier study had college students read a description of a married couple in which either the husband or the wife was described as the leader. As predicted, whichever spouse was described as the leader was perceived by the students as being highly self-assertive while the other spouse was seen as being highly accommodating. The next study tested the hypothesis that power-related roles in marriage lead to gender stereotyping by examining whether the roles in violent marriages could also explain gender stereotyping. College students read a description of a married couple and then rated both husband and wife on gender-stereotyped personality traits. In one condition, the husband was described as violent toward his wife; in the other, the roles were reversed. The results revealed that when the husband was described as violent, both he and the wife were perceived in a traditionally stereotyped way. When the conventional power relationship was reversed, the gender stereotypes were also reversed. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (62nd, New York, NY, April 11-14, 1991). Includes handout from conference presentation.