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Capturing the gendiverse: A test of the gender self-perception scale, with implications for survey data and labor market measures

Alian Serae Kasabian, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation assesses a new measure of gender. In doing so, it addresses a glaring inconsistency between how sociologists conceptualize gender and how we measure it (i.e., with sex categories) in most quantitative sociological literature. Research that only measures sex effectively hides the variability in individual social identities that is related to sociological outcomes of interest. Unfortunately, most existing quantitative gender scales are impractical for use in large scale data collection. In this work, I investigated the Gender Self-perception Scale (GSPS) as an alternative survey measure of gender using three projects. For the first project (chapter 2), I used the GSPS and sex measures to predict warmth and competence across two data sources Strong associations between sex and gender were found for both groups, but less so for competence than warmth, and gender (as measured by the GSPS) was not fully explained by sex. In the second project (chapter 3), I examined how people define gender, gender identity, and masculinity and femininity, and how they think about two versions of the GSPS using cognitive interviews with 13 cisgender and 7 trans respondents. Results indicated similar understandings of gender by gender status, and an overall positive response to the GSPS. The GSPS appears to capture the degree to which the respondent fulfills social stereotypes, indicating that it may be most beneficial for interactional research. In the final project (chapter 4), I examined the relationship between sex, gender, and work-related outcomes within a high gender minority sample of employed respondents. Neither sex nor the GSPS were consistent predictors across the outcomes of interest, which may indicate a reduction in the impact of these characteristics within the workplace, at least for those privileged in terms of education and occupation as this sample was. Overall, these results point to changing gender norms and expectations, and variability in experiences that are lost when we reduce our analyses to only sex. More research is needed using the GSPS, but it is an option for researchers going forward who would like to measure gender in a parsimonious way.

Subject Area

Sociology|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Kasabian, Alian Serae, "Capturing the gendiverse: A test of the gender self-perception scale, with implications for survey data and labor market measures" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3717077.