Date of Award

1975

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

James Prochaska

Abstract

Seventeen acting-out, 17 mixed-neurotic and 19 normal adolescent females were compared with respect to their sex-role development. It was hypothesized that mixed-neurotic girls would be more 'traditionally' feminine in their sex-role development while the acting-out girls would be more masculine. It was expected that the normals would show a combination of masculine and feminine traits. Adolescents' perceptions of the sex-role behavior of their parents were also examined. It was expected that the mixed-neurotic girls would perceive their mothers as more traditional in sex-role while the acting-out girls would perceive their mothers as more masculine. Again, normal girls were expected to fall in between the two groups. Finally, the groups were compared on possession of certain personality traits traditionally thought of as masculine or feminine.

The fathers and mothers of the girls were also compared with respect to their own sex-role identification. Mothers were expected to score in a similar direction as their daughters. No specific directional predictions were made for fathers. All subjects were given the Franck Drawing Completion Test, the Adjective Check List and the Femininity Scale of the California Psychological Inventory. In addition, the parents were asked to fill out the Adjective Check List a second time, with the direction that they check off those items they would ideally like their daughter to have, and the adolescents were given the Parental Description Survey.

No differences were found among the groups of adolescents on sex-role identity, either sex-role orientation or preference. Mothers of mixed-neurotic girls showed a more feminine sex-role preference. With respect to specific personality traits, normal adolescents had higher affiliation and heterosexuality scores. Mixed-neurotic adolescents had higher succorance scores. Mothers of mixed-neurotic girls had lower achievement scores. Concerning parental expectation, or adolescents' perceptions of their parents' sex-role appropriateness, no differences were found among the groups.

The results of this study suggest that mothers of mixed neurotic girls are more feminine in their sex-role identification while mothers of normals show more flexibility. Furthermore, it appears that normal girls possess some of the more 'functional' feminine traits, whereas the neurotic. girls may possess more of the 'dysfunctional' feminine traits. Possession of these functional feminine traits evidently makes it easier to function in this society and may make one less likely to seek psychiatric help or act-out against society.

Significant classification matrices were yielded for the following sets of variables: six best predictor variables from the step-wise discriminant analysis; adolescents' perception of self and parents; mothers' self-perception; total 75 variables utilized in the study. Thus, groups of adolescents, groups of mothers, and groups of families could be accurately classified into their particular categories on the basis of their performance on the measures used in the present study.

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