Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Marion J. Merchant

Third Advisor

Nancy J. Nixon Carbonell

Abstract

Problem. Limited and conflictual studies have been completed on White and African American marriages and gender-roles. As a result, this study sought to compare perceptions of gender-roles in White and African American married couples. In addition, this study looked at relationships between gender-roles, length of marriage, and level of education in White and African American married couples.

Method. A total of 92 couples (26 African American, 33 White interacting married, 33 White non-interacting defacto) participated in this study. The defacto couples served as a control group.

The Bem Sex-Role Inventory, Masculine-Feminine Sex-Roles Survey, and a demographics sheet were given to each couple. Statistical analyses included Pearson correlations and t-tests.

Five hypotheses were formulated. The first one was the positive association of masculinity and femininity in marriage. The second and third hypotheses dealt with the relationship between level of education and gender-role attitudes, and length of marriage and gender-role attitudes, respectively. The fourth hypothesis dealt with the similarity in gender-role attitudes among White married and White defacto couples. The fifth hypothesis dealt with the similarity in gender-role attitudes among White and African American married couples.

Results. (1) White married couples share similar attitudes about gender-roles. White defacto and African American married couples do not share similar attitudes about gender-roles. (2) There was a negative association between level of education and traditional gender-role perception in White married couples. No such relationship was found for White defacto and African American married couples. (3) There was no significant relationship between gender-role attitudes and length of marriage for any of the couples. (4) White and African American married couples do not share similar attitudes about gender-roles.

Conclusions. Differences in gender-role attitudes do exist among White and African American married couples. Whites are more traditional than African Americans. Since length of marriage is not a factor, individuals appear to marry partners who already possess the desired gender-role perceptions. Differences in race may be due to other variables such as history, economics, and culture.

Subject Area

Sex role, African Americans--Marriage, Husband and wife

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