Are Gender Roles Related to Purpose in Life and Well-Being in Younger and Older Females?

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Reesor, Naomi Joanne Shirley




Previous research has found that holding an egalitarian attitude towards gender roles has been associated with increased well-being, but being unable to engage in life goals that reflect these attitudes may lead to feelings of restriction. The current paper looks at how gender roles are associated with purpose in life and well-being by first assessing female university students through quantitative measures, then by in depth interviews with older women. Study 1 showed no relationship between gender role attitudes and purpose in life, but a significant connection between traditional attitudes and greater depressive symptoms. Study 2 found that older women did mention gender roles when discussing their purpose, and a greater proportion of egalitarian gender roles was associated with higher levels of purpose in life. These results indicate a greater need for understanding the complex relationship between gender roles, goal pursuit, and well-being across women of all ages.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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