A Test of Bipolar and Androgyny Perspectives of Masculinity and Femininity: The Effect of Participation in an Outward Bound Program


  • The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Jennifer Barnes in data preparation and to thank the participants and staff of the Outward Bound program Correspondence should be sent to Dr Herbert W Marsh, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia


ABSTRACT The purposes of the present investigation are to examine theoretical issues in androgyny theory by testing the effect of participation in the Outward Bound program on measures of masculinity (M) and femininity (F) Bipolar conceptualizations of MF posit that an increase in either M or F must lead to a decrease in the other, whereas androgyny theory posits M and F to be independent constructs Consistent with a priori predictions based on the nature of the Outward Bound program, participation substantially enhanced M and had a small positive effect on F The results were reasonably consistent for male and female participants, for single-sex and mixed-sex groups, and across responses to three different MF measures Results support the androgyny interpretation of MF and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Outward Bound program in changing MF The results contradict the bipolar perspective that an increase in M must be accompanied by a decrease in F