The present research was designed to determine whether or not gender differences exist in adapting to a possible stressful new environment. Participants included 29 college students (13 males, 16 females) who were administered the Student Adaptation to College Survey (SACQ) to measure adjustment to college. The Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) was administered to detect whether gender identity is associated with scores on the SACQ. Results indicated that neither gender nor gender identity were related to adaptation to college. These findings show that difficulty or ease in adapting to college is not related to being male or female. Research on factors that could affect adaptation and whether gender differences exist in coping with stress.
Participants in the study consisted of 29 freshman students from a small liberal arts college in New Hampshire. Participants received class credit in their introduction to psychology class for their participation in the study. Participants were randomly selected for the study by means of a sign-up sheet for the specified date and time. The 29 participants consisted of 16 females, with a mean age of 17.96 and 13 males with a mean age of 18.00.
Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ)
The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire, created by Baker and Siryk (1989) was used to assess the participant’s adaptation using scales which included academic adjustment, social adjustment, personal emotional adjustment and attachment. (See Appendix A). The questionnaire consisted of demographic information including age, sex, date of birth, year of graduation, and ethnic background. The questionnaire contained 67 items in which the participant chose 1 of 9 choices on a scale on how closely the statements on the questionnaires applied to them. Lower choices on the scale applied to a close relation to the statement, and a higher choice indicated that the statements did not apply closely to the participant.
BEM Sex Role Inventory (BSRI)
The BEM Sex Role Inventory, written by Sandra Lipsitz Bem (1974), was used to the masculinity and/or femininity of the participants using 20 items representing masculine traits, 20 items representing feminine traits, and 20 filler items which are considered neutral with respect to common stereotypes. Participants ranked each item on how closely each item related to them individually. The BEM ranked each item on a scale from 1 to 7, with a lower score indicating that the item was never or seldom true, and a higher score indicating the item was often or frequently true.
Before participants received the SACQ and the BSRI, they were given an informed consent form, which stated the purpose of the research. (See Appendix C). The informed consent also informed the participants that their participation was voluntary in the study, and they could refrain from answering any question(s) at any time during the testing period. All consent forms were read, signed, and collected before the administration of the study. A similar consent form was passed out for another study that used the SACQ and a hardiness scale. The SACQ was administered to the participants and were collected as each individual completed the questionnaire. Once all the participants had completed SACQ, a hardiness scale was administered for a separate experiment which was conducted using the SACQ. The hardiness scales were collected and the BEM Sex Role Inventory was administered. The BSRI was collected from the participants as they completed the survey. Once all surveys were collected, participants were given a debriefing form explaining the study in greater detail, and explaining the hypothesis. (See Appendix D). Participants were thanked for their time and participation, and left the classroom.
In the present study, gender and the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) were used as the correlational measures. The BSRI is a standardized test used to measure masculinity, femininity, androgyny, and undifferentiated roles according to one’s gender. Demographic data was also achieved from the BSRI. The dependent measures were the scores of participants on the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ), which incorporated scales of academic adjustment, social adjustment, and attachment. Subjects were drawn randomly from a group of freshman who were taking an introduction to psychology class in New Hampshire. N=29.(16 women, 13 men). All subjects were first semester freshman in their third month of school. Subjects’ ages ranged from 17 to 18. Mean=17.96.
Data was analyzed using a paired samples t-test to measure BSRI scores and their relation to the SACQ. There was no main effect found in the paired sample, t (1, 28)=.253, p>.05, showing that differences in BSRI scores did not effect College adaptation scores. A t-test was then run to see if the Bem Sex Role Inventory accurately showed differences in masculinity and femininity between males and females. There was a main effect found between gender and the BSRI score. t (-5, 27)=0.00, p<.05, showing a significant difference between gender and BSRI scores, and showing the test was accurate.
A further step was taken to see if there was any possible correlation between scores on the BSRI and the SACQ, using a Pearson Correlation. A no significance was found between the BSRI and the SACQ. (r=-.111) p>.05, showing there was no relationship between masculinity, femininity and adaptation to college.
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