Negative attributes are gendered too: Conceptualizing and measuring positive and negative facets of sex-role identity


Correspondence to: Barbara Krahé, Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, D-14476 Potsdam, Germany.



Measures of gender identity have almost exclusively relied on positive aspects of masculinity and femininity, although conceptually the self-concept is not limited to positive attributes. A theoretical argument is made for considering negative attributes of gender identity, followed by five studies developing the Positive–Negative Sex-Role Inventory (PN-SRI) as a new measure of gender identity. Study 1 demonstrated that many of the attributes of a German version of the Bem Sex-Role Inventory are no longer considered to differ in desirability for men and women. For the PN-SRI, Study 2 elicited attributes characterizing men and women in today's society, for which ratings of typicality and desirability as well as self-ratings by men and women were obtained in Study 3. Study 4 examined the reliability and factorial structure of the four subscales of positive and negative masculinity and femininity and demonstrated the construct and discriminant validity of the PN-SRI by showing that the negative masculinity and femininity scales were unique predictors of select validation constructs. Study 5 showed that the new instrument explained variance in the validation constructs beyond earlier measures of gender identity.

Key message: Even in the construction of negative aspects of gender identity, individuals prefer gender-congruent attributes. Negative masculinity and femininity make a unique contribution to understanding gender-related differences in psychological outcome variables. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.