Sex differences in self-esteem and performance expectancies in married couples

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Sharron Koffman
Hilary M. Lips
Cite this article:  Koffman, S., & Lips, H. (1980). Sex differences in self-esteem and performance expectancies in married couples. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 8(1), 57-64.


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Thirty-five married couples, in half of which the wife was a full-time homemaker, were given the Revised Janis-Field Self-Esteem Scale (Eagly, 1967), the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974) and the short form of the Attitudes toward Women Scale (Spence et al., 1973). Each individual was then asked to predict his/her performance on two tests: one involving verbal skills and one involving mathematical skills. Performance on both tests was then measured. Significant sex differences were found in self-esteem and in performance prediction, with males showing greater self-esteem and predicting higher scores for themselves than did females on both tests. No sex difference in actual performance was found. The only significant difference found between full-time homemakers and career women was that homemakers predicted higher performance for themselves on the verbal test. Scores on the masculinity scale of the BSRI were found to be significantly positively related to self-esteem scores for both sexes, but no relationship between the BSRI and performance prediction was found. Subjects? attitudes toward women scores were not found to relate to either self-esteem or verbal performance prediction. However, a significant positive correlation was found between female subjects? attitudes toward women and mathematical performance prediction. Neither female subjects? self-esteem nor their performance expectancies were found to relate to their husbands? attitudes toward women.
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