Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Weiland, Andrea L.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Women college students--Psychology; Sex role


This study investigated the relationships between sex-role, self-esteem, locus of control, and traditionality/nontraditionality in a sample of college-aged females. Subjects were classified into one of four sex-role classifications by the use of the Bern Sex-Role Identity Scale (BSRI). Self-esteem was measured by the use of the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale (TSCS). The results supported the hypothesis that subjects classified as androgynous (i.e., those subjects who possess the positive traits associated with both masculine and feminine sex-roles) would demonstrate significantly greater levels of self-esteem than would subjects classified as masculine, feminine, or undifferentiated in their sex-role orientation. Thus, possession of both feminine and masculine traits can lead to greater feelings of mastery and self-confidence. It was also found that subjects classified as undifferentiated in their sex-roles (i.e., those subjects who do not possess the positive traits associated with either masculine or feminine sex-roles) demonstrated lower levels of self-esteem than did any other sex- role classification. Subjects’ Ideal Sex-Role was also assessed using the BSRI, Contrary to prediction, subjects whose Ideal and Real Sex-Roles were synonymous did not exhibit greater levels of self-esteem than did subjects whose Ideal and Real Sex-Roles were not synonymous. A partial explanation for this may be that there was no differentiation made between subjects who were extremely dissatisfied with their sex-role orientation and those who desired only slight amounts of change. Subjects were classified as traditional or nontraditional based on whether they had chosen traditional academic majors for females in the university population or had chosen academic majors that were not traditionally chosen by females in the university population. It was found that a slightly greater percentage of nontraditional females were classified as androgynous or masculine sex-typed than were traditional females. It was also concluded that a number of females are now venturing into academic areas that were traditionally followed by males, regardless of their sex-role orientation. Locus of control was assessed using the Rotter Internal- External Locus of Control Scale. It was expected that females who possessed an androgynous or masculine sex-role orientation would demonstrate a significantly more internal locus of control than would feminine sex-typed females, because the former two groups would be less dependent on external guidelines for their sex-role orientation than would the latter group. This hypothesis was supported. Similarly, it was expected that nontraditional females would exhibit a significantly greater level of internal locus of control than would traditional females. No significant difference in locus of control was found between these two groups. This may be partly attributable to a trend for increasing numbers of females to pursue nontraditional careers. Support was found for the prediction that females whose Ideal Sex-Roles were masculine would exhibit higher levels of internal locus of control than would any other group of females. Clinical implications of the findings and suggestions for future research in this area of study were discussed.


Includes bibliographical references.


79 pages




Northern Illinois University

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