Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Second Advisor

Nancy J. Carbonell

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai


Problem. The process of adjusting to college has been difficult for many Korean-Americans because of the tension that exists between traditional sex roles versus androgynous sex roles. While it has opened doors to new and exciting opportunities in personal growth, complex challenges of academic, emotional, and social adjustments must be made. The traditional views of the subculture have posed unique problems for young Korean Americans who have enrolled in higher education. This descriptive study examined the relationship between androgynous flexibility and the college adjustment of Korean American students. Androgynous flexibility was investigated in terms of college adjustment.

Method. The sample population consisted of 153 Korean American college students from six universities from the East and West Coasts of the United States who voluntarily completed two surveys, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI), Short Version, measuring psychological androgyny, and the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ), measuring college adjustment. Each subject's Bem score was determined. The score from the Bem indicated if an individual was identified as androgynous, undifferentiated, masculine, or feminine. Then, the adjustment scores for each individual was calculated from the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire. The four sex-role groups' adjustment scores were compared for significant differences at the .05 level by using t-tests.

Results. Results indicated that androgynous Korean American subjects adjusted to college significantly better than feminine or undifferentiated Korean American students. However, there were no significant differences in levels of adjustment to college between androgynous Korean American students and masculine Korean American students.

Conclusions. Bern's theory of behavioral flexibility was not fully supported by the findings of this research. There was no conclusive evidence of greater flexibility of behavior with androgynous individuals. Bern postulated that Psychological Androgyny allows people to be more flexible in their behaviors. Overall, androgynous individuals reported significantly higher adjustment levels than feminine or undifferentiated subjects, however their adjustment scores were not significantly higher than masculine individuals. Another conclusion which can be made from this study is that masculine traits play a more active role than feminine traits in the adjustment process to college for Korean Americans. Findings suggest that masculine traits are more influential with the adjustment process to college for this population.

Subject Area

Bem Sex-Role Inventory, Korean Americans--Education (Higher), Androgyny (Psychology).