Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Gender Differences in Personality and Adjustment Pattern of Students

Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Gender Differences in Personality and Adjustment Pattern of Students

Article excerpt


Gender differences owe their genesis to the behavior of the primates and their evolution, thereafter. Evolutionary changes and development have been a source of research and study for many decades. The Neanderthal men use to hunt for their family while women use to look-after the house and children. Thus, with time the set of skills that developed in men and women as per the requirement in daily chores; differed significantly. Gradually their behavior shaped their attitudes and the differences in affective and cognitive components also became evident. Although, few people accept any more that men should go out to work and have little to do with looking after the home and the children, whereas women should stay at home and concern themselves only with home and children . However, many stereotypes still exist and it is the need of the hour to understand the uniqueness in either sex that becomes a topic of debate quite often. Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) found four differences between boys and girls for which there was convincing evidence:

1) Girls have greater verbal ability than boys; this difference has been found at most ages during childhood.

2) Boys have greater visual and spatial abilities than girls.

3) Boys have greater arithmetical ability than girls, but this difference only appears during adolescence.

4) Boys are aggressive than girls physically and verbally.

Differences in personality and adjustment of the sexes have been debated to a great extent. It is well known that personality plays an important role in determining not only the behavior of an individual, but also, overall success and well being of an individual in life. Allport (1937) has defined personality as "a dynamic organisation within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determines his unique adjustment to his environment." Interest in personality is as old as civilisation: Ancient philosophers and poets often speculated about why males and females were unique and why they differed from each other in so many ways. For ages person-situation interaction has played an important role in the development of an individual's personality (Vansteelandt & VanMechelen, 1999). In this context not only the family environment but also the society and the culture in which the children are brought up becomes all too important. In every culture and society children and adolescents are subjected to various kinds of pressures, both personal and social. These pressures exert great influence on the personality development of the children, which ultimately influences not only the all-round development of that particular society, but also, affects the future development of the country. In other words, personality of an individual determines the nature of the society and the society in turn influences the personality of an individual; thus, mutually reinforcing each other. Similarly, Fromm (1955) also emphasized the role that society plays in structuring, shaping and limiting personality.

In most cultures, achievement and self-reliance are regarded as more important for boys than girls. And nurturance is associated more with girls than boys (Barry, Bacon & Child, 1957). These gender differences have sometimes been interpreted as being "natural" or biologically determined. As Hare-Mustin and Maracek (1988) pointed out that the sex differences probably depend in large measure on the fact that men tend to be in more powerful positions than women: Women's concern with relationship can be understood as the need to please others that arises from a lack of power. Those in power advocate rules, discipline, control, and rationality, whereas those without power espouse relatedness and compassion.

Adjustment is an adaptive process, which includes reaction to a variety of demands or pressures upon an individual on the basis of his characteristics. So, different people will deal with similar situations, differently. …

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