Student Poster Award

Gender Role Ideologies, Eudaimonic Well-Being, and Locus of Control in Christian Women

Egalitarian gender role ideologies are associated with higher eudaimonic well-being (or flourishing)

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 HorrellKerry 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.


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