Threat to Gender Representation: Identity and Identification



To investigate the effect of a threat to gender identity on the use of defense mechanisms, college students were given false feedback regarding their sex-role identity. Male and female students who were given gender-contrary feedback showed a marked increase in the use of the defense of identification, as compared to students who were given gender-consistent feedback. Further, both affect change and the use of identification was a function of the degree of discrepancy between feedback condition and conscious gender identity.