Date of Thesis

4-30-2013

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

John Ptacek

Abstract

Previous research has established a significant association between social support and health; high levels of social support are consistently shown to both directly and indirectly improve health (Cohen, 1998, House et al. 1988, Rook, 2001, Schwarzer & Leppin 1989). Additional research has investigated the role of sex and gender differences in social support, health and the interaction between these variables (Barbee et al. 1993, Burda, Vaux & Schill 1984, Cleary, 1987, Rook, 2001, Shumaker & Hill, 1991). The present study aims to further examine the influence of sex-role orientation on social support and health. Forty-nine female participants completed a three-part survey assessing their sex-role orientation, perceived social support, current stress levels and physical health. Results revealed that both masculinity and femininity relate to social support network size and health outcomes. Masculinity and androgyny were significantly negatively associated with health problems, whereas undifferentiated individuals had higher rates of physical illness. These findings demonstrate the important role of gendered traits in social support and ultimately, physical health.

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