Gender, Sexuality, and the Authoritarian Personality


  • Thank you to Regina Kim for collecting the Korean data used in Table 2. Collection of the data reported in Table 3 was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (F31MH11468, T32MH19890, F32MH12068).

concerning this article should be addressed to Bill E. Peterson, Smith College, Department of Psychology, Northampton, MA 01063. Email:


ABSTRACT The political correlates of the authoritarian personality have been well established by researchers, but important linkages to other major constructs in psychology need fuller elaboration. We present new data and review old data from our laboratories that show the myriad ways in which authoritarianism is implicated in the important domain of gender roles. We show that women and men high in authoritarianism live in rigidly gendered worlds where male and female roles are narrowly defined, attractiveness is based on traditional conceptions of masculinity and femininity, and conventional sexual mores are prescribed. As a construct, authoritarianism is not just relevant for understanding people's politics, but it also affects the most personal of domains—romantic partnerships, lifestyle goals, and basic attitudes about male and female relationships.