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J Pers. 1995 Sep;63(3):681-710.

A multifactorial approach to the study of gender characteristics.

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Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The present article reviews some of the central conceptual issues confronted by gender researchers as they have tried to forge a theory of gender identity that can account for the complexity and diversity of gender-related characteristics displayed by women and men. An emerging consensus suggests that gender is incorporated into an individual's self-concept in multiple and loosely connected ways. We review one example of this emerging multiplicity perspective, Spence's (1993) multifactorial gender identity theory, and describe three recent studies testing its usefulness. We also discuss ways in which multiplicity models of gender could benefit from considering parallel developments in the general personality literature regarding the problem of levels or domains. In particular, it is argued that McAdams's (this issue) integrative three-level model of the structure of personality offers a helpful framework for guiding future test construction and theory development in gender research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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