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Gender identity: the Children's Sex Role Inventory (CSRI) short form

The CSRI was used to assess gender roles (Boldizar, 1991). This instrument measures traditional masculine traits (e.g., competitiveness: “When I play games, I really like to win”), feminine traits (e.g., compassion: “I care about what happens to others”) and neutral traits to act as fillers (e.g., friendly “I have many friends”). It is a self-report survey and uses a Likert scale (four, “very true of me”; three, “mostly true of me”; two, “a little true of me” and one, “not true of me at all”). Neutral items were excluded from the analysis.

Sex differences in mental toughness and gender identity

A series of ANOVAs were carried out to investigate sex differences in mental toughness.

Sex differences were found in masculine and feminine traits in accordance with stereotypical perceptions; girls identified more closely
with feminine traits whilst boys identified more closely with masculine traits. However, it is important to note that the sex differences found in masculine traits was considerably narrower than the difference found in feminine traits; boys and girls differed more widely in their identification with feminine traits (or traits traditionally considered to be feminine). Interestingly, when examining the mean scores for both males and females on the CSRI, it is clear that males identified more closely with the masculine traits in the questionnaire than the feminine traits whilst girls identified with both feminine and masculine traits. This may be due, in part, to cultural changes throughout the last two decades (the questionnaire was published twenty years ago). It may be the case that females, whilst identifying more with feminine traits, are also rejecting a lot of the traits that are considered to be traditionally feminine and adopting some characteristics considered to be indicative of a masculine identity.

Association between gender identity and mental toughness

Table 1. Correlations examining associations between masculine and feminine traits and mental toughness constructs (both males and females). Challenge Commitment Control Control Confidence Interpersonal Mental of of in abilities confidence toughness emotion life

M 0.39**

0.32**

0.26** 0.28**

0.22**

0.38**

0.41**

F 0.08

0.05

-0.01 0.06

0.06

0.12

0.08

Note: M = Masculine traits, F = Feminine traits. ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05.

Masculine traits were significantly positively correlated with all the sub-components of mental toughness and overall mental toughness. However, feminine traits were not associated with any mental toughness constructs. Although these associations between masculine traits and mental toughness were not strong they were consistent.

Correlations were then carried out to examine differences between male and females in how masculine traits and feminine traits correlated with aspects of mental toughness.

For both boys and girls significant associations were found between masculine traits and the sub-components of mental toughness and overall mental toughness (see Table 2). In addition, for boys and girls,
Table 2. Correlations examining associations between masculine and feminine traits and motivational constructs in boys and girls. Challenge Commitment Control Control Confidence Interpersonal Mental of of in abilities confidence toughness emotion life

Males

M 0.43**

0.41**

0.23**

0.36** 0.40**

0.43**

0.48**

F 0.12

0.08

-0.01

0.06 0.15

0.06

0.10

Females M 0.34**

0.18*

0.22**

0.19* -0.03

0.35**

0.28**

F 0.15

0.12

0.21**

0.09 0.10

0.18*

0.20*

Note: M = Masculine traits, F = Feminine traits. ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05.

identification with masculine traits were more closely associated with both the sub-components of mental toughness and overall mental toughness. These associations were stronger for boys than for girls. However, it is of interest to note that girls with high levels of mental toughness identified with masculine traits. So it would seem that mental toughness is associated with a masculine identity irrespective of sex.

 
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