On the Content and Structure of the Gender Role Self-Concept: Including Gender-Stereotypical Behaviors in Addition to Traits


  • Ursula Athenstaedt, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria.

  • I thank Gerold Mikula for his help with the manuscript preparation. Furthermore, I thank Alice Eagly, Joachim Krueger, Wendy Wood and several anonymous reviewers for their important comments on former versions of this manuscript. Finally, I thank Joachim Krueger for his helpful assistance with the English translation of the Gender Role Behavior Scale.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ursula Athenstaedt, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Universitaetsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria. E-mail: ursula.athenstaedt@uni-graz.at


The present study introduces a conceptualization of gender role self-concept that implies not only the commonly measured socially desirable expressive and instrumental traits (F+ and M+) but also feminine and masculine behaviors (FBehav and MBehav), and socially undesirable gender traits (F− and M−). Three different models were tested using structural equation modeling. For both men and women, F+ and FBehav load together on one dimension whereas M+ and MBehav load on a second dimension. F− and M− are conceptualized as independent dimensions that are mainly related to the cross-gendered latent factor. With the exception of these similarities, the self-concepts of men and women differed in several important aspects that point to a different meaning of gender roles for the two sexes.