2019 Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Title

Re-Assessing the Current Validity of the Bem Sex-Role Inventory

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Keywords

Bem Sex-Role Inventory; Sex role--Testing;

Abstract

The Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974) is a widely used measure of gender role perceptions; a recent GoogleScholar search showed over 11,000 citations of the scale, including over 1500 in just the last four years. In 1998, Holt and Ellis partially replicated Bem’s (1974) methodology to validate the BSRI’s masculine and feminine adjectives and found that it was still a valid measure, although gender role perceptions had weakened. In the current study, we replicated Holt and Ellis’s (1998) methodology to assess the validity of the BSRI twenty years later, along with assessing the college students comprehension of the words included in the BSRI. In a preregistered replication, 67 undergraduate psychology students rated the desirability of Bem’s (1974) masculine and feminine traits for either men or women. The participants also indicated any words they did not understand. Only 35% of feminine adjectives were still considered significantly more desirable for women, whereas 50% of masculine adjectives were considered significantly more desirable for men. We found that 20% of the feminine traits and 5% of the masculine traits tended to be perceived as more desirable for the other gender. There were several terms in the BSRI that participants admitted they did not understand, such as yielding (46%). The current research indicates that the adjectives used in the BSRI may need revision to match current gender role perceptions and comprehension of the adjectives used.

Start Date

3-4-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

3-4-2019 1:00 AM

Faculty Advisor

Helen Harton

Department

Department of Psychology

File Format

application/pdf

Embargo Date

4-23-2020

Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.

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Apr 3rd, 11:00 AM Apr 3rd, 1:00 AM

Re-Assessing the Current Validity of the Bem Sex-Role Inventory

The Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974) is a widely used measure of gender role perceptions; a recent GoogleScholar search showed over 11,000 citations of the scale, including over 1500 in just the last four years. In 1998, Holt and Ellis partially replicated Bem’s (1974) methodology to validate the BSRI’s masculine and feminine adjectives and found that it was still a valid measure, although gender role perceptions had weakened. In the current study, we replicated Holt and Ellis’s (1998) methodology to assess the validity of the BSRI twenty years later, along with assessing the college students comprehension of the words included in the BSRI. In a preregistered replication, 67 undergraduate psychology students rated the desirability of Bem’s (1974) masculine and feminine traits for either men or women. The participants also indicated any words they did not understand. Only 35% of feminine adjectives were still considered significantly more desirable for women, whereas 50% of masculine adjectives were considered significantly more desirable for men. We found that 20% of the feminine traits and 5% of the masculine traits tended to be perceived as more desirable for the other gender. There were several terms in the BSRI that participants admitted they did not understand, such as yielding (46%). The current research indicates that the adjectives used in the BSRI may need revision to match current gender role perceptions and comprehension of the adjectives used.