Sex‐role attitudes of tertiary students in 1976 and 1986

Mary T. Westbrook*, Lena A. Nordholm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Sex‐role attitudes of incoming tertiary students were measured on the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (Spence & Helmreich, 1972) in 1976 (N −265) and 1986 (N = 510). Students' total and six subscale scores were analysed using 2&2 anovas. Four significant sex effects occurred. Females' scores on the total, vocational, freedom, and marital roles scales were more egalitarian than male attitudes. Six significant year effects occurred. Students' attitudes on the total scale and on all subscales except sexual behaviour were more liberal in 1986. No significant interactions occurred. There was only limited evidence of the trends documented by American sex‐role researchers since the mid‐1970s. Australian attitudes had not become more traditional nor was there evidence of stabilisation except in the area of sexual behaviour. Similarity of male and female attitudes was only apparent in the areas of sexual and dating behaviour and drinking, swearing, and joking. 1988 Australian Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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