Does the BSRI inventory sex roles?

James S. Uleman, Martha Weston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two studies were done to see whether self-descriptions on the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) are stable across various social roles, or whether adopting familiar gender-segregated social roles produces more traditionally sex-typed BSRI self-descriptions. Parents of 41 infants completed the BSRI under standard instructions, and thinking of themselves in their parental roles. And 76 undergraduates completed it under standard instructions, and thinking of themselves as students, and as boyfriends or girlfriends. Both scales of the BSRI changed significantly across roles for both genders in each study. Traditionally sex-typed self-descriptions did not increase in the parent roles or the boyfriend role. The student and boy- or girlfriend roles produced the same changes in men and women. Results appear inconsistent with Bem's interpretation of the BSRI in terms of masculinity, femininity, and sex roles, and support Spence and Helmreich's emphasis on instrumentality and expressiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalSex Roles
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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