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Does Gender Identity Influence Gender-Typed Relationship Styles (or Vice Versa)? Examining Direction of Effects With a Short-Term Longitudinal Design

By: Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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In this case study, a short-term longitudinal design is examined as one approach to tease out directionality of effects in correlational studies. Menon evaluated the evidence for the prospective bidirectional influences between gender identity and gender-typed relationship styles. The researcher’s conceptualization of the constructs of gender identity and gender typing is mindful of their multidimensionality, and this is reflected in the measurement approach. Specifically, different aspects of gender identity are measured, and the content of the gender typing measures is retained. In the research study, early adolescents (N = 144) in Britain responded to measures of gender identity (felt typicality, felt contentedness, felt pressure) and relationship styles (preoccupied, avoidant) toward the mother and a close friend at two time-points: first, when in the seventh and eighth year groups and again 9 months later when in the eighth and ninth year groups. Hierarchical regression models were used to examine the direction of effects between gender identity and gender-typed relationship styles. In these analyses, Time 1 measure of the dependent variable was included as a covariate, thus enabling one to evaluate whether the predictor is associated with the left-over or change-over-time variance in the dependent measure. Results indicated greater support for the prospective influence of gender-typed relationship styles on gender identity than for the influence of gender identity on relationship styles.

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