Date of this Version
J Youth Adolesc. 2014 December ; 43(12): 2041–2053
Gender development has long term implications for education and career endeavors and family formation behaviors, but we know very little about the role of sociocultural factors in developmental and individual differences. In this study, we investigated one domain of gender development, gender role attitudes, in Mexican American adolescents (N = 246; 51% female), using four phases of longitudinal data across eight years. Data were collected when adolescents averaged 12.51 years (SD = 0.58), 14.64 years (SD = 0.59), 17.72 years (SD = 0.57), and 19.60 years of age (SD = 0.66). Mothers’ and fathers’ gender role attitudes also were assessed in Phases 1, 3, and 4. Findings revealed that gender attitude development varied as a function of the interaction between adolescents’ nativity and gender. Among Mexico-born adolescents, females exhibited significant declines in traditional attitudes from early to late adolescence, but males’ attitudes were stable over time. U.S.-born females and males, in contrast, did not differ in their gender attitude trajectories. Examining the links between mothers’, fathers’, and adolescents’ gender role attitudes revealed within-person associations between mothers’ and adolescents’ gender role attitudes: on occasions when mothers reported more traditional attitudes relative to their own cross-time average, adolescents also reported more traditional attitudes than usual. In addition, fathers’ more traditional gender role attitudes were associated with daughters’, but not sons’, more traditional gender role attitudes at the between-person level. The discussion focuses on the interpretation of Mexican American adolescents’ gender role attitude development from a cultural ecological perspective.
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