Student Poster Award
Gender Role Ideologies, Eudaimonic Well-Being, and Locus of Control in Christian Women
By Kerry Horrell, BA
Previous research has demonstrated that egalitarian gender role ideologies are associated with higher eudaimonic well-being (or flourishing). This research has indicated that holding traditional gender roles ideologies is related to decreased mental health (Bromberger & Matthews, 1996; Hunt, Sweeting, Keoghan, & Platt, 2006; Read & Grundy, 2011; Sweeting et al., 2013) and that holding egalitarian gender role ideologies is related to higher well-being (Gale-Ross, Baird, Towson, 2009; Grieve Rosenthal, Cavallo, 1988; Kulik, 2006; Matud, Bathencourt, & Ibáñez, 2014; Saunders & Kashubeck-West, 2006; Stake, 2007; Van de Vijver, 2007; Weiss, Freund, & Wiese, 2012; Zweig, 2000). However, there has been little research to demonstrate if specifically evangelical gender role ideologies, which include traditional/egalitarian gender role ideologies as well as theology surrounding gender, follow these same trends, or whether the religious nature of the beliefs influences outcomes.
Specifically, research has found that gender role traditionalism among evangelicals is not only seen as a command, but is also perceived as serving a higher purpose and as a service to God (Baker, Sanchez, Nock, & Wright, 2009). Moreover, researchers have hypothesized that when such areas of life are seen as sanctified by God, people invest more time and energy in them and try to protect and preserve them, typically leading to more positive outcomes (Pargament & Mahoney, 2005). Thus the current study examined how evangelical gender role ideologies function in relation to eudaimonic well-being.
Three hundred sixty-three married Christian women were administered a survey containing a traditional/egalitarian gender role ideology scale, a gender theology scale, a robust eudaimonic well-being scale and a locus of control scale. It was hypothesized that egalitarian evangelical gender role ideologies would significantly predict higher eudaimonic well-being. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that locus of control would mediate this relationship. The results indicate that evangelical gender role ideologies are significantly related to eudaimonic well-being. Specifically, high eudaimonic well-being was related to a more egalitarian gender role ideology ( r = .19, p < .01) and a more egalitarian gender theology ( r = .22, p < .01). Moreover, it was found that the well-being subscale of personal growth accounted for the majority of the relationship between eudaimonic well-being and both traditional/egalitarian gender role ideology ( ß = .25, p < 01) and gender theology ( ß = .3, p <.01).
Furthermore, a significant indirect mediating effect was found for traditional/egalitarian gender role ideology on eudaimonic well-being through locus of control ( B = -.05, 95% CI [-.13, -.005]). Specifically, a greater internalized locus of control mediated the relationship between a more egalitarian gender role ideology and higher eudaimonic well-being. This research helps to further demonstrate that egalitarian gender role ideologies are related to increased flourishing, as well as providing evidence that egalitarian gender theology also follows this trend. Moreover, this research begins to shed light on the explanatory function of locus of control for this relationship. Overall, this study has meaningful implications for evangelicals, as many within this population espouse forms of traditional gender role ideologies (Ali et al., 2008).
About the Author
Kerry Horrell is a third-year doctoral student in Rosemead School of Psychology's PhD program for Clinical Psychology. Kerry holds a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine in Psychology and Social Behavior, with a minor in Conflict Resolution. Additionally, she holds a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology. Kerry's research interests include gender role ideologies, sexism and flourishing, particularly within the evangelical community. Kerry's clinical interests include working with marginalized populations, primarily in an inpatient/hospital setting. Other professional interests and goals include advocacy work, teaching and multicultural humility.
Ali, S. R. Mahmood, A., Moel, J., Hudson, C., & Leathers, L. (2008). A qualitative investigation of Muslim and Christian women's views of religion and feminism in their lives. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 38-46.
Baker, E. H., Sanchez, L. A., Nock, S. L., & Wright, J. D. (2009). Covenant marriage and the sanctification of gendered marital roles. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 147-178. doi:10.1177/0192513X08324109
Bromberger, J. T., & Matthews, K. A. (1996). A 'feminine' model of vulnerability to depressive symptoms: A longitudinal investigation of middle-aged women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 591-598. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1991
Gale-Ross, R., Baird, A., & Towson, S. (2009). Gender role, life satisfaction, and wellness: Androgyny in a southwestern Ontario sample. Canadian Journal on Aging, 28, 135-146. doi:10.1017/S0714980809090187
Grieve, N., Rosenthal, D., & Cavallo, A. (1988). Self-esteem and sex-role attitudes: A comparison of Italian- and Anglo-Australian adolescent girls. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 12, 175-189. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.1988.tb00935.x
Hunt, K., Sweeting, H., Keoghan, M., & Platt, S. (2006). Sex, gender role orientation, gender role attitudes and suicidal thoughts in three generations: A general population study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41, 641-647.
Kulik, L. (2006). Personality profiles, life satisfaction and gender-role ideology among couples in late adulthood: The Israeli case. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 317-329. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2005.06.026
Matud, M. P., Bethencourt, J. M., & Ibáñez, I. (2014). Relevance of gender roles in life satisfaction in adult people. Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 206-211.
Pargament, K. I., & Mahoney, A. (2005). Sacred matters: Sanctification as a vital topic for the psychology of religion. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15, 179-198. doi:10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_1
Read, S., & Grundy, E. (2011). Mental health among older married couples: The role of gender and family life. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 46, 331-341. doi:10.1007/s00127-010-0205-3
Saunders, K. J., & Kashubeck-West, S. (2006). The relations among feminist identity development, gender-role orientation, and psychological well-being in women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 199-211.
Sweeting, H., Bhaskar, A., Benzeval, M., Popham, F., & Hunt, K. (2014). Changing gender roles and attitudes and their implications for well-being around the new millennium. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49, 791-809.
Van de Vijver, F. R. (2007). Cultural and gender differences in gender-role beliefs, sharing household task and child-care responsibilities, and well-being among immigrants and majority members in the Netherlands. Sex Roles, 57, 813-824. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9316-z
Weiss, D., Freund, A. M., & Wiese, B. S. (2012). Mastering developmental transitions in young and middle adulthood: The interplay of openness to experience and traditional gender ideology on women's self-efficacy and subjective well-being. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1774-1784.