Sex-role orientation and response to cognitive stressors
Schaefer, Dagmar I.
Master of Arts
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The present study was aimed at investigating the relationship between sex-role orientation, as defined by the BSRI, and heart-rate response to stress. After being administered both the BSRI and JAS, 35 female undergraduate volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two orders of presentation, of moderately stressful verbal and spatial tasks. Heart-rate was measured throughout the experimental situation, and subjects rated each task for perceived pleasantness. A significant (p=.032) interaction was found between masculinity and femininity, with the androgynous and undifferentiated groups showing lower heart-rate increases to both tasks. Neither the BSRI nor the JAS Type A scales were found to be significantly related with subjects' performance on either task, although a trend did emerge with higher masculinity scores being linked with somewhat better performance. Furthermore, masculinity was significantly associated with reports of greater perceived pleasantness for both tasks. While the Type A variable was positively correlated with masculinity, and negatively correlated with femininity, it did not account for any of the above relationships.