Role of Parents in the Gender Role Identity Formation of Offspring: An Exploratory Study

Author(s): Shreya Chowdhury, Suvosree Bhattacharya*, Surajit Bhattacharya, Anjan Bhattacharya

Gender role identity tends to shape an individual’s self-concept, playing a significant role in shaping their behaviour and interpersonal relationship patterns across different societies, races, and ethnicities. This study explores the relationship between perceived parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive for both parents) and gender role identity in young adults, and also the pattern of gender role identity of parents and their offspring. The sample consisted of 100 young adults (M=20.60, SD=1.98) and both of their parents (father and mother). Both the young adults and their parents responded to the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, whereas only young adults responded to the Parental Authority Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics showed that out of 100 young adults, 38% identified as androgynous, followed by feminine (29%), masculine (12%), and undifferentiated (21%). 54% of male young adults rated themselves as androgynous, whereas 46% of females identified as feminine. A considerable proportion of the parents reported themselves as androgynous (both 48%). A significant correlation was found between permissive parenting style in mothers and undifferentiated gender role identity in young adults (r= 0.75, p= 8.1e-05). A positive, moderately significant correlation was also found between fathers' permissive parenting style and masculinity in young adults (r= 0.83, p= 0.00093). This information will help us understand parents' role in gender identity formation and may also help us formulate management plans in terms of the parent-child relationship and their gender role identity.

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