Stereotyping: Sex role identification and social perceptions of sport participants

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Carolyn S. Garwood - Committee Chair


This research examined the effects of a stimulus person's participation in a gender-incongruent sport activity on subjects' judgments. The effect of subject sex-type was also investigated. Male and female undergraduates from the University of Miami, were divided into two groups, sex-typed (n = 52) and non-sex-typed (n = 99) based upon their score from the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Subjects read a biographical sketch describing one of four stimulus persons (SP): a male or a female SP participating in a masculine (mountain climbing) or feminine sport (aerobic dance). Subjects were asked to assess the probability that the SP possessed other gender related traits, behavior roles, physical characteristics, and was heterosexual or homosexual. Subjects also rated the likability and adjustment of the SPs.Results indicated that stimulus sport was found to affect subjects' judgments of physical characteristics and masculine traits, such that SPs who engaged in mountain climbing were attributed higher levels of masculine physical characteristics and masculine traits. Subjects rated women who engaged in a gender-congruent sport as more likable than the other three groups. For both the male and female SPs, participation in a gender-incongruent sport led to a decrease in the estimated probability of being heterosexual and an increase in the probability of being homosexual. No significant effects were found for the female traits, male or female behavior roles or the adjustment dimensions. Sex-typed subjects' ratings did not differ from non-sex-typed subjects' ratings on any of the dependent measures.


Education, Educational Psychology

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