Gender typicality, pressure to conform to gender norms, and body esteem in 6-9 year-old girls
According to Egan and Perry's (2001) multidimensional model of gender identity, gender typicality should be positively related to, and feeling pressure to conform to gender norms should be negatively related to, well-being. In a cross-sectional study of 6- to 11-year-old girls (N = 120), measures of gender typicality (i.e., gender similarity), parental and peer pressure to conform to gender norms, and body image were administered. Girls who perceived greater similarity to girls had higher body esteem, but this association was only significant for girls with low pressure from peers. Girls who perceived greater similarity to boys selected thinner disliked body sizes, but this association was only significant for girls with low pressure from parents. Results support the use of the multidimensional model of gender identity for understanding body image among girls. Protective effects of similarity to boys and girls may be contingent upon whether peer and family contexts foster rigid gender typing.
Savoy, S., Faragó, F., Khaleghi, N., Sanchez, E.A., DeGuenther, A., & Thompson, J.N. (2022). Gender Typicality, Pressure to Conform to Gender Norms, and Body Esteem in 6- to 9-Year-Old Girls. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 68(2), 125-146. doi:10.1353/mpq.2022.0007.
Tell us how this article helped you.
Address correspondence to Sarah Savoy, Department of Psychology, Stephen F. Austin State University, PO Box 13046, SFA Station, Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3046. Phone: (936) 468-5117. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The authors thank all children and parents for taking part in this study, all community collaborators for allowing recruitment at their respective sites, as well as Yemy Magana, Malcolm Jackson, Haley Paz, and all research assistants who provided support with interviewing and data entry for this project. Preliminary findings from this study were presented at the Southwestern Psychological Association annual convention, April 2018, Houston, TX; at the Eighth Biennial Gender Development Research Conference, October 2018, San Francisco, CA; and at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial meeting, March 2019, Baltimore, MD.
This work was partly supported by the Research Enhancement Program at Stephen F. Austin State University (grant number 2017-017).