Original Research

Positives and Negatives: Reconceptualising Gender Attributes within the Context of the Sex role Identity and Well-Being Literature: An Examination within the South African Context

Colleen Bernstein, Ruksana Osman
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1309 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1309 | © 2016 Colleen Bernstein, Ruksana Osman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2015 | Published: 25 May 2016

About the author(s)

Colleen Bernstein, Department of Psychology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Ruksana Osman, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: There is a lack of research examining both positive and negative sex-based traits and sex role identities. Previous research has predominantly focused on positive sex role identities and their relationship to various outcome variables. Findings for such research have not always been consistent. It has been argued that research that only examines positive identities is methodologically flawed and that the inconsistent findings in such research may be attributable to the fact that the research conducted has not examined the extent to which individuals may have adopted negative sex role identities.

Motivation for the study: With few exceptions, sex role identity (SRI) has been measured exclusively in terms of positive characteristics only. There is a dearth of research investigating both positive and negative sex role identities, particularly within the South African context.

Research purpose: The purpose of this research was to explore the extent to which individuals adopt both positive and negative sex-based traits and sex role identities. A theoretical argument is made for examining positive and negative gender attributes followed by a discussion of seven empirical studies, which demonstrate that significant proportions of samples are adopting negative sex role identities.

Research design, approach and method: This research was conducted using a cross-sectional design and a convenience sampling method across seven different samples. A total of 3462 employees participated in this research. A revised version of the Extended Personal Attribute Questionnaire (EPAQ-R) and a demographic survey were used to collect the data.

Main findings: Across all seven samples, a significant proportion of the respondents adopted negative sex role identities. These findings suggest that there is a need to measure both positive and negative identities in research on SRI. The proportion of respondents across the seven samples that adopted negative identities ranged from 44% to 49% whilst 46% to 54% indicated the adoption of positive identities.

Practical/managerial implications: This research is important as it highlights that investigations of SRI must assess both positive and negative sex role identities. Negative SRIs may have implications for critical individual and organisational outcomes. Furthermore, measures that assess both positive and negative identities may have implications for organisational processes, such as recruitment, selection and training, learning and development.

Contribution/value-add: The findings of this research contribute to the South African body of literature investigating sex role identities. The present study’s finding of a high proportion of individuals endorsing negative identities has implications for future research. Future research needs to explore the relationship between both positive and negative identities and a wide variety of individual and organisational well-being indicators.

Keywords: Sex role identity; positive sex role identity; negative sex role identity

 


Keywords

Sex role identity; positive sex role identity; negative sex role identity

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Crossref Citations

1. A Psychometric Evaluation of a Swedish Version of the Positive–Negative Sex-Role Inventory (PN-SRI)
Therese Rydberg Sterner, Pia Gudmundsson, Nazib Seidu, Kristoffer Bäckman, Ingmar Skoog, Hanna Falk
Societies  vol: 8  issue: 1  first page: 13  year: 2018  
doi: 10.3390/soc8010013