An appraisal of sex-role development in New Zealand boys: A dissertation presented to the Faculty of Social Science, Massey University, New Zealand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy
A growing literature attests to the importance of sex-role identification as a crucial component in the structuring of personality. Much has been written, too, concerning the significance of interpersonal relationships in the development of sex-role. Surprisingly, however, little has been done to examine the process of the acquisition of a sex-role identity in either males or females. Past research has been heavily committed to the study of parent effects on children's sex-role development at a variety of ages. The parent-affects-child paradigm is viewed, for present purposes, as conceptually threadbare, for within the numerous approaches which it has embraced, the influence - even the existence - of any model other than the parent has been consistently ignored. The study is devoted to some aspects of sex-role development in a sample of New Zealand boys of primary school age i.e. between ages five and twelve. It breaks with the conventional; for it reports upon sex-role identification (a) in a familial context and (b) at three different age-levels. The work is presented in three parts. Part A deals with theoretical considerations which are relevant to the present study. Prior to an examination of sex-role identification, problems which arise from the diverse uses to which the term 'identification' is put are discussed. There is good reason for this ordering: identification is conceptualised as generic, sex-role identification as one of its derivatives. Although it is the derivative which is of primary concern in this study, discussion of the overarching concept cannot be precluded.