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The relationship of masculinity and femininity to the big five personality dimensions among a Chinese sample.

Recently a lot of researchers have focused on the relationships between the gender role and mental health, psychological adjustment, and well-being. In several studies the relationship of masculinity and femininity with personality dimensions has been examined (Lippa & Connelly, 1990; Marusic & Bratko, 1998; Whitley & Gridley, 1993). Concepts of masculinity and femininity have developed in the process of socialization, and have been influenced to some extent by culture. In the present study we examined the relationship of masculinity and femininity with the Big Five personality dimensions in a Chinese context.

A bipolar conception of masculinity-femininity was proposed by Terman and Miles (1936), who described masculinity-femininity as a single dimension having an "either-or" quality--that is, the more masculine an individual is, the less feminine he or she is, and vice versa. With the ongoing deepening of the study of gender roles, this traditional single-dimension model is gradually being questioned. Bipolar masculinity-femininity as a conception waned in popularity by the early 1970s in the face of conceptual and empirical critiques (e.g., Constantinople, 2005), as scholars argued that the conception, that one could be either masculine or feminine but not both, was problematic (Morawski, 1987). Theorists proposing two-dimensional conceptions of masculinity and femininity hold that masculinity and femininity are separate dimensions. People can be masculine, feminine, or both (androgynous). Two of the better known inventories to measure masculinity and femininity on separate, independent dimensions are: the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974) and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ; Spence & Helmreich, 1978).

Research conducted in western countries was generally focused on the relationship of masculinity, femininity, and the revised NEO and Five-factor Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1992) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975) personality dimensions. Marusic and Bratko (1998) found that masculinity contributed positively to extraversion and conscientiousness, and negatively to neuroticism and agreeableness, while femininity showed a strong positive relationship with agreeableness, and weak positive relationships with the other four personality dimensions of the Big Five. Lippa and Connelly (1990), when investigating the relationship between gender and the Big Five personality dimensions, reported the strongest positive relationships were those between masculinity and openness to experience and extraversion, while the strongest negative relationship was between masculinity and neuroticism. For femininity the most positive correlations were agreeableness and conscientiousness. In a study carried out in 1993, Whitley and Gridley confirmed the finding on the negative relationship between masculinity and the emotion dimension, while they found that femininity showed no relationship with personality dimensions. Overall, in research conducted in western countries, it has been found that masculinity contributes positively to extraversion, and negatively to neuroticism, while femininity has shown a strong positive relationship with agreeableness and neuroticism.

However, to date, most research on the relationship of masculinity and femininity with personality dimensions has been conducted in western and/or individualist cultures. So the aim in present study was to explore the relationship of masculinity and femininity with the Big Five personality dimensions in a Chinese context. In addition, the vast majority of research has been carried out with student samples (e.g., Lippa & Connelly, 1990; Lu & Su, 2004; Marusic & Bratko, 1998). Therefore, we decided to examine the relationship of masculinity and femininity with the Big Five personality dimensions not only with Chinese students but also with people from other sectors of society. We included people who were heterosexual and homosexual, male and female.

METHOD

Participants and Procedure

Because it is difficult to recruit homosexual participants in China, we sought participants via the Internet. In total, we received 1,821 questionnaires we believed to be valid. Only participants who were 16 years of age or older were included in the analyses.

Questionnaires included measures of the Big Five personality traits, and demographic information on participants' gender, sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual), age, current occupation, educational level, and city of residence.

In the sample 1,264 participants were heterosexual (70% of the total sample, 322 men and 942 women) from 284 cities throughout China. The mean age of the heterosexual sample was 24.2 years (SD = 4.1 years), ranging from 16 to 45 years. There were 541 participants who were homosexual (30% of the total sample, 253 men and 288 women) from 145 cities throughout China. The mean age of this sample was 23.5 years (SD = 4.4 years), ranging from 16 to 46 years.

MEASURES

IPIP Big Five Factor Markers The Big Five scales consisted of items taken from the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP; Goldberg, 2001). Fifty-item and 100-item IPIP inventories have been developed that assess the Big Five personality traits (Goldberg, 2001). We made use of the 50-item version, which contains 10-item factor marker scales for each of the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability (i.e., neuroticism, reversed), and intellect. Participants responded to the IPIP items using a 5-point Likert-type scale that ranged from 1 = very inaccurate self-description to 5 = very accurate self-description. Reliability and validity data for the Chinese version of the IPIP Big-Five factor markers have been published by Zheng et al. (2008). The reliabilities of the IPIP extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and intellect scales for all participants, were, respectively, .87, .72, .79, .78, and .78.

Bem Sex Role Inventory Masculinity and femininity were assessed using the Chinese version of the BSRI (Bem, 1974). This inventory contains orthogonal 20-item masculinity and femininity scales, along with a 20-item social desirability scale of which the items are now mainly used as fillers. Participants responded to the BSRI items using a 7-point, Likert-type scale that ranged from 1 = never or almost never true to 7 = almost always true, as in the original instrument. The reliabilities of the BSRI masculinity and femininity scales for all participants were, respectively, .88, and .77.

RESULTS

CORRELATIONS AMONG MASCULINITY, FEMININITY, AND THE BIG FIVE PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS

Correlations among masculinity, femininity, and Big Five personality dimensions are shown in Table 1. Masculinity strongly positively correlated with extraversion, conscientiousness, and intellect and slightly positively correlated with agreeableness; femininity strongly positively correlated with agreeableness. Correlations between emotional stability and both masculinity and femininity were low.

PREDICTIONS OF MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY ON THE BIG FIVE PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS

We conducted a hierarchical multiple regression to examine the prediction on personality dimensions controlling for age, education, gender, and sexual orientation. Specifically, age, education, gender, and sexual orientation served as predictors in the first step, masculinity and femininity served as predictors in the second step, and personality dimensions served as dependent variables. The results of hierarchical multiple regressions are shown in Table 2. Masculinity was predicted strongly on extraversion, conscientiousness, intellect, and, to a lesser degree, on agreeableness, and femininity was predicted strongly on agreeableness. The predictions of masculinity and femininity on emotional stability were very small (adjusted [R.sup.2] = .03).

As noted earlier, we examined the relationship of masculinity and femininity with Big Five personality dimensions in various subsamples. We conducted the same hierarchical multiple regression in subsamples according to gender, sexual orientation, and occupation, respectively. The results are available from the first author. Our results showed that predictions of masculinity and femininity on the Big Five personality dimensions presented the same pattern as for the previous tests, that is, masculinity was predicted strongly on extraversion, conscientiousness, intellect, and, to a lesser degree, on agreeableness, and femininity was predicted strongly on agreeableness.

DISCUSSION

In the present study we found that masculinity contributed positively to extraversion, and femininity contributed positively to agreeableness across gender and sexual orientation, and these results were consistent with those of studies conducted in Western cultures. The implication is that the relationship of masculinity with extraversion, and of femininity with agreeableness, is consistent across cultures.

We found that masculinity contributed very positively not only to extraversion, conscientiousness, and intellect but also contributed slightly to agreeableness. This is a totally different result from that found in western cultures where masculinity contributed negatively to agreeableness, but our result is consistent with the finding in a previous study conducted in China that masculinity contributed to interpersonal relations to some extent (Lu & Su, 2004; r = .31 for male and .33 for female, [beta] = .23, p < .01). From the perspective of traditional Chinese culture, this result may be influenced by the Confucian ideal personality which embraces "inner cultivation and exterior action" (Du, 2006). The aspiration of exterior action tends to be seen as masculine behavior and inner cultivation seems to be in line with the feminine characteristics in Chinese culture. Individuals are expected to pursue traits related to masculine qualities, such as self-reliance and independence, but must also pay attention to self-cultivation which is in line with feminine characteristics. Therefore, Chinese individuals who scored high on masculine traits in our study also scored higher than did groups in other studies on some feminine traits, such as agreeableness. Thus, in China's collectivist culture a man who scores high on femininity would be seen as ideally "moral" rather than as "feminine". Although masculinity and femininity may be seen, respectively, as "masculine" and "feminine" traits in many western cultures, these are more likely to be seen as "moral" traits according to the more collectivist ideals of Chinese culture.

DOI 10.2224/sbp.2011.39.4.445

REFERENCES

Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162.

Constantinople, A. (2005). Masculinity-femininity: An exception to a famous dictum? Feminism and Psychology, 15(4), 385-407.

Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R., Jr. (1992). The Revised NEO Personality Inventory and NEO Five-factor Inventory. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Du, X. (2006). Confucian ideal personality and its enlightenment for quality of education of contemporary university students [In Chinese]. Education and Practice of Education, 26, 46-47.

Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1975). Manual for the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton.

Goldberg, L. R. (2001). The International Personality Item Pool. Retrieved June 12, 2007, from http://ipip.ori.org

Lippa, R. A., & Connelly, S. (1990). Gender diagnosticity: A new Bayesian approach to gender related individual differences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(5), 1051-1065.

Lu, Q., & Su, Y. J. (2004). Relationships of gender role and fundamental personality dimensions (in Chinese). Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis, 40(4), 642-651.

Marusic, I., & Bratko, D. (1998). Relations of masculinity and femininity with personality dimensions of the Five-Factor model. Sex Roles, 38(1/2), 29-44.

Morawski, J. G. (1987). The troubled quest for masculinity, femininity, and androgyny. In P. Shaver & C. Hendrick (Eds.), Sex and gender (pp. 44-69). Newbury Park: Sage.

Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1978). Masculinity and femininity: Their psychological dimensions, correlates, and antecedents. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Terman, L. M., & Miles, C. C. (1936). Sex and personality. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Whitley, B. E., Jr., & Gridley, B. E. (1993). Sex role orientation, self-esteem, and depression: A latent variables analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19(4), 363-369.

Zheng, L., Goldberg, L. R., Zheng, Y., Zhao, Y., Tang, Y., & Liu, L. (2008). Reliability and concurrent validation of the IPIP Big-Five factor markers in China: Consistencies in factor structure between Internet-obtained heterosexual and homosexual samples. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(7), 649-654.

Lijun Zheng and Yong Zheng

Southwest University, Chongqing, People's Republic of China

Lijun Zheng and Yong Zheng, Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education; and School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, People's Republic of China.

This research was supported by both the Key Discipline Fund of National 211 project, China and the Humanities and Social Sciences Planning Fund (05JAXLX010), Ministry of Education, China. Appreciation is due to anonymous reviewers.

Please address correspondence and reprint requests to: Yong Zheng, School of Psychology, Southwest University, Beibei, Chongqing, People's Republic of China PC 400715. Email: zhengy@swu.edu.cn
TABLE 1

CORRELATIONS AMONG MASCULINITY, FEMININITY, AND THE BIG FIVE
PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS

Variables                   1          2          3          4

1. Masculinity                 1
2. Femininity            .20 ***          1
3. Extraversion          .52 ***    .11 ***          1
4. Agreeableness         .35 ***    .54 ***    .43 ***          1
5. Conscientiousness     .40 ***    .18 ***    .12 ***    .24 ***
6. Emotional stability   .17 ***        .05    .20 ***    .12 ***
7. Intellect             .50 ***    .18 ***    .36 ***    .34 ***

Variables                   5          6          7

1. Masculinity
2. Femininity
3. Extraversion
4. Agreeableness
5. Conscientiousness           1
6. Emotional stability   .11 ***          1
7. Intellect             .17 ***        .00          1

Notes: * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001. N = 1,805.

TABLE 2

HIERARCHICAL MULTIPLE REGRESSIONS OF MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY FOR THE
BIG FIVE PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS

Variables               E         A         C
                     [beta]    [beta]    [beta]

Masculinity          .52 ***   .22 ***   .36 ***
Femininity           .00       .49 ***   .10 *
Adjusted [R.sup.2]   .27 ***   .35 ***   .19 ***

Variables              ES         I
                     [beta]    [beta]

Masculinity          .16 ***   .57 **
Femininity           .01       .01
Adjusted [R.sup.2]   .03 ***   .26 ***

Notes: * p < .05, **p < .01, *** p < .001. N = 1,805.

E = Extraversion; A = Agreeableness; C = Conscientiousness; ES =
Emotional Stability; I = Intellect.
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Author:Zheng, Lijun; Zheng, Yong
Publication:Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:May 1, 2011
Words:2107
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