The article “The Development of Gender Role Attitudes During Adolescence: Effects of Sex, Socioeconomic Background, and Cognitive Abilities” by Ricarda Ullrich, Michael Becker, and Jan Scharf, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2022), delves into the complex development of gender role attitudes during adolescence. The researchers used a large-scale longitudinal German dataset (BIJU) from 1991 to 2002 focusing on early adolescence to emerging adulthood to investigate how gender role attitudes evolve and what factors influence this development. The study sought to provide empirical insights into the ongoing debate about the dynamics of gender role attitude development and its predictors.

Gender roles, as psychological and social constructs, dictate societal expectations and personal cognitive structures regarding the division of labor and power between men and women. Traditional gender roles have seen significant shifts over recent decades, especially regarding the female role. Despite these changes, a comprehensive understanding of the development of gender role attitudes during adolescence and the factors influencing this development has remained elusive.

The study utilized latent growth curve models to analyze the data, revealing that adolescents generally developed more egalitarian gender role attitudes over time. However, significant differences persisted between sexes throughout adolescence, although the gap narrowed. The findings highlighted the less pronounced role of socioeconomic status while suggesting that adolescents, particularly those with lower intelligence scores, developed more egalitarian views during their teenage years. This trend indicates a shift towards more open and egalitarian attitudes as teenagers grow and mature.

Key predictive factors for developing gender role attitudes were examined, including sex, parents’ socioeconomic status, and individual cognitive abilities. The study confirmed that sex differences play a substantial role in developing gender role attitudes, with females generally exhibiting more egalitarian views than males. Socioeconomic status and cognitive abilities also influenced these attitudes, with higher socioeconomic status and cognitive abilities typically associated with more egalitarian views. Interestingly, the study found that teenagers with lower cognitive abilities showed a greater increase in egalitarian attitudes over time, suggesting that initial higher egalitarian views among more cognitively able adolescents might plateau as they mature.

The article provides valuable insights into the complex dynamics of gender role attitude development during adolescence. It underscores the significance of various biological, social, and cognitive factors in shaping these attitudes and highlights the gradual shift towards more egalitarian views as adolescents age. The findings contribute to the broader understanding of gender role socialization and its implications for future research and policy-making in gender equality.


Ullrich, R., Becker, M., & Scharf, J. (2022). The development of gender role attitudes during adolescence: Effects of sex, socioeconomic background, and cognitive abilities. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51(11), 2114-2129. doi: