The benefits and drawbacks of gender typing: How different dimensions are related to psychological adjustment

Matthew D. Didonato, Sheri A. Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The benefits versus costs of gender typing are not clear: Is adjustment optimal when people identify and act in strongly gendered ways or when they embrace characteristics of both sexes? Previous findings are inconsistent, in part because they are derived from different conceptualizations of gender typing. A comprehensive understanding of the mental health consequences of gender typing requires recognition of the multidimensionality of gender typing and simultaneous consideration of these dimensions. On the basis of previous work on individual measures, we hypothesized that adjustment would be differentially associated with different aspects of gender typing: positively with sex-congruent gender identity and male-typed personality traits, negatively with rigid gender attitudes, and minimally with female-typed personality traits and gender-typed activity interests. Structural equation models were used to enable testing of all associations simultaneously. Results from a sample of 401 undergraduate students supported our hypotheses. For both women and men, adjustment was positively associated with gender-congruent identity, instrumentality, and flexible gender attitudes, and minimally related to activity interests and expressivity. These findings clarify the mental health benefits and costs of gender typing and highlight the multidimensionality of gender typing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-463
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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