Trajectories of gender role orientations in adolescence and early adulthood: A prospective study of the mental health effects of masculinity and femininity

Anne E. Barrett, Helene Raskin White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adolescence is the segment of the life course when gender differences in mental health emerge and gender becomes a more salient factor shaping orientations toward oneself and views of one s place in the social world. This study uses mixture modeling, to identify trajectories of masculinity and femininity between ages 12 and 25, and OLS regression, to examine the effects of those trajectories on mental health in young adulthood (measured as depressive symptoms and alcohol problems at age 25). Four waves of prospective data from the Rutgers Health and Human Development Project are used; respondents (n = 447) are age 12 at Wave 1 (1979-81), 15 at Wave 2 (1982-84), 18 at Wave 3 (1985-87), and 25 at Wave 4 (1992-94). Results indicate that having relatively high and increasing levels of masculinity over adolescence decreases depressive symptoms in early adulthood for both males and females. Reflecting the privileging of males over females, the findings suggest that masculinity, but not femininity, is a central axis on which advantages and disadvantages across some dimensions of mental health accumulate over adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-468
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Trajectories of gender role orientations in adolescence and early adulthood: A prospective study of the mental health effects of masculinity and femininity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this