Sex-typing, contingent self-esteem, and peer relations among adolescents [sic] males
Current theoretical accounts of gender role development argue that children are active participants in their own and their peers' gender role development (Liben & Bigler, 2002; Ruble, Martin, & Szkrybalo, 2002). Specifically, children have been reported to bully peers whose behaviors do not conform to gender norms (Ruble & Martin, 2002). Gender-related bullying is especially problematic among adolescent boys who use gay-baiting (calling a boy gay when he does something atypical of his gender) to publicly harm male peers whose behaviors are incongruent with society's definition of masculinity (Pollack, 1998; Kimmel, 2003a; Kimmel, 2003b). Relationships among endorsing traditional masculine gender roles for the self-and others, contingent self-esteem, gender-based bullying, and academic performance have been hinted at in the literature, although there has not been a study connecting these themes. The purpose of this dissertation, therefore, is to determine the relations among (a) endorsing traditional masculine gender roles via sex-typing of the self and others, (b) contingent self-esteem, (c) gender-related bullying, and (d) academic success. In addition, I propose and test the notion that contingent self-esteem mediates the relationship between sex-typing of the self and others and gender-related bullying (perpetrators and victims). Participants included 103 7th grade boys (31 European Americans, 72 Latinos) who reported on (a) their personal sex-typed attitudes (OAT-PM) and sex-typed attitudes towards others (OAT-AM), (b) levels of contingent self-esteem, and (c) gender-related bullying (perpetrators and victims) in the spring of 2008. Students' final GPAs were also obtained. Results indicated that Latino boys were more likely than European American boys to be perpetrators of gender-related bullying. European American boys, in contrast, were more likely than Latino boys to become victims of gender-related bullying. In addition, boys were more likely to engage in gender-related bullying if they were highly sex-typed and if their self-esteem was contingent upon proving their masculinity. Such findings suggest the need for researchers to develop intervention programs designed to teach students to have more flexible conceptions of gender in order to minimize the amount of gender-related bullying in the schools.