Personality correlates of attitudes toward the role and status of women in Ireland1


  • Margret Fine-Davis

    1. Department of Psychology, Trinity College, University of Dublin
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    • 2

      . Now at the Institute of Public Administration, 57-61 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4, Ireland. Reprint requests should be directed to this address.

  • 1

    . An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Seventh Annual Conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland, Dublin, 20–23 October 1977. The study was supported in part by a grant from the Department of Labour (Dublin), to whom acknowledgement is gratefully made. Appreciation is also expressed to E. E. Davis, G. Noble and K. Heskin for their valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the possible relationships between personality and related social-psychological characteristics, on the one hand, and attitudes toward sex-roles and issues relevant to the status of women, on the other. The sample consisted of 420 male and female Dublin adults aged 18 to 65, who were randomly selected within stratification categories. Factor analytically derived measures of personality and related social-psychological characteristics were developed as well as similarly derived measures of attitudes toward the role and status of women. Composite scores on these two sets of factors were intercorrelated for the total sample and for males and females separately. The correlational analyses revealed that traditional sex-role attitudes and less favorable attitudes to equal pay, contraception, and maternal employment were significantly correlated with measures of religiosity. Traditional attitudes and opposition to social change in the area of sex-role behavior were also found to be positively correlated with less trust in people, feelings of self-deprecation and powerlessness, and a need for order and predictability. Analysis of variance and path analysis were used to explore the possible mediating role played by demographic characteristics, such as age and socioeconomic status, in these relationships.