Self-Concept and Masculinity/femininity among Normal Male Individuals and Males with Gender Identity Disorder

By Taher, Naeema S. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, April 20, 2007 | Go to article overview

Self-Concept and Masculinity/femininity among Normal Male Individuals and Males with Gender Identity Disorder


Taher, Naeema S., Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


This study aimed at identifying self-concept and masculinity/femininity in 102 normal males and a similar number of individuals with Gender Identity Disorder using the Tennessee Self-Concept scale (Farag & Al-Qurashi, 1999) and the MMPI subscale of Masculinity/Femininity (Hana, Ismail, & Milaika, 1986). Results showed that (a) there are significant differences in self-concept in favor of normal individuals; (b) individuals with Gender Identity Disorder scored significantly higher on clinical measures including neurosis, psychosis, personal disorder, defensive positiveness, and lower on personality integration, (c) normals scored significantly higher on masculinity measures than did males with Gender Identity Disorder.

Keywords: Gender Identity Disorder, self-concept, masculinity, Tennessee self-concept scale, MMPA masculinity/femininity scale.

Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a passive phenomenon which is found globally including in the Arab countries, despite the fact that this phenomenon contradicts Arab social, religious, and moral values.

Research on factors that may cause GID has been flourishing in recent decades. In 1966, Kohlberg focused on moral development. In the same area, Green (1987), Zucker, Bradley, and Sanikhani (1997), and Zucker, Bradley, and Sullivan (1996), investigated gender identity formation and disorders among children and adolescents. Zucker and Bradley (1999) scrutinized GID in relation to variables such as different developmental stages. Orlofsky and Stake (1981) examined academic and career achievement and interpersonal concerns in males and females. Results indicated that psychological masculinity and femininity are better predictors of strivings and self-concepts in the achievement and interpersonal domains than is gender.

Marsh (1987) tested the generality of the Marsh/Shavelson conclusions in a study of the relations between multiple dimensions of self-concept and masculinity/femininity (MF) measures. The relationships between four Australian Sex-Role Scale (M+, M-, F+, F-) items and two facets of self-concept (SDQ II) were examined. Results showed that the social desirability of MF items, whether positive or negative, were more highly correlated with self-concept responses than whether the items were M or F. Signorella and Jamison (2001) studied the influence of gender stereotyping on sex differences in spatial performance. Results showed that adolescent girls whose masculine self-concept scores exceeded their feminine self-concept scores, performed better on spatial tasks than did girls whose F scores were higher than their M scores. No significant associations were found for boys.

GID is characterized by strong and persistent cross-gender identification and by persistent discomfort with one's sex. Results (Marsh, 1987) indicated that extreme caution must be taken when treating adolescents with GID. Sex reassignment must not be started before patients have reached eighteen years of age (Meyenburg, 1999).

The DSM-IV (DSM - American Psychiatric Association, 1994) diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder as a mental disorder has attracted controversy for its diagnostic criteria as a target for therapeutic intervention, and for its relationship to a homosexual sexual orientation. Another controversy is the claim that the diagnosis of GIDC was introduced into the DSM-III to replace homosexuality. In this article it is argued that GIDC was included as a psychiatric diagnosis because it met the generally accepted criteria used by the framers of the DSM-III for inclusion. Therefore, the entry of GIDC was guided by research clinicians using the same mechanism that led to the introduction of other new psychiatric diagnoses (Zucker & Spitzer, 2005).

According to social learning theory (Cohen, Derend, & Arrindell, 1994), a child acquires gender identity characteristics by observing the conduct of a certain model, and then adapts such a model of conduct to be replicated in his/her own behavior.

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