Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
Cross-ethnic Applicability of the Gender-based Attitudes
Toward Marriage and Child Rearing Scales
Michele Adams & Scott Coltrane & Ross D. Parke
Published online: 28 February 2007
# Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007
Abstract The reliability and validity of Hoffman and Theories about gender difference and inequality identify the
Kloska’s (1995) Gender-based Attitudes toward Marital family as a primary site for the transmission of attitudes
Roles (GATMR) and Gender-based Attitudes toward Child toward gender. Polarized gender attitudes, in turn, are consi-
Rearing (GATCR) were assessed for a sample of Mexican dered a major cause of women’s disadvantage in a sexist
American mothers and fathers (n=167) of fifth-grade society (Bem, 1993; Coltrane, 1998; Lorber, 1994). Over
children in a large metropolitan area in the southwestern the past few decades, psychologists and sociologists have
United States. Factor analysis was conducted, and the developed a wide range of measures to study gender attitudes
results suggest that the 6-item GATMR is conceptually (e.g., Beere, 1990; McHugh & Frieze, 1997; Moradi, Yoder,
distinct and reliable for this ethnic group. Correlation of & Berendsen, 2004), but only recently have they turned
GATMR scores for mothers and fathers with divisions of their attention toward the development of specific measures
family labor suggest good validity. A 5-item revised that focus on families. Hoffman and Kloska’s (1995)
GATCR demonstrated modest reliability and good construct Gender-based Attitudes toward Marital Roles (GATMR)
validity. The value of these scales for work with Mexican and Child Rearing (GATCR) were developed to fill this
American families is noted. Theoretical implications for void. The measures were designed to tap attitudes that reflect
gender socialization are explored, and suggestions for gender stereotypes about the husband-wife relationship
further research are offered. (GATMR) and about how to raise boys and girls (GATCR);
the scales were initially normed on a sample of European
Keywords Gender . Family . Marriage . American and African American women and men. The goal
Latino/a (hispanic) . Parenting of the present study was to explore the factor structure and
validity of scores on these marriage and child rearing
measures with a sample of Mexican American families.
As Hoffman and Kloska (1995) noted, parental attitudes
This research was supported by Grant # MH 54154-01A2 from the about how family roles are gendered have important
National Institute of Mental Health. implications for children’s socialization. Children observe
M. Adams (*)
and learn about the gendered nature of family life indirectly
Department of Sociology, Tulane University, from their parents’ interactions with each other, as well as
220 Newcomb Hall, directly from experiencing how their parents treat them.
New Orleans, LA 70118, USA Both dimensions of gender attitudes-toward marriage and
toward child rearing-are posited to influence children’s
S. Coltrane construction of the nature of the world, their self-concepts,
Department of Sociology, University of California, and their behavior (Bem, 1993; Hoffman & Kloska, 1995).
Riverside, CA, USA Socialization involves the ways in which children learn
R. D. Parke
to be “fully functioning members of adult society” (Coltrane,
Department of Psychology, University of California, 1998, p. 110); the broad aim of socialization is to guide the
Riverside, CA, USA “child to fit the adult role he or she will occupy” (Hoffman,
326 Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
1977, p. 646). Traditional gender arrangements have Although child development theories postulate different
focused on the wife-as-homemaker, husband-as-provider social and cognitive processes in the attainment of “gender-
roles, around which traditional socialization practices have appropriate” self-concepts and behaviors, most acknowl-
been organized (Hoffman, 1977). For this reason, studies edge the importance of parents’ attitudes in children’s
have historically demonstrated gender differences in the gender development. Parents’ gender-based expectations
ways that parents treat their children. As future breadwin- about appropriate child rearing may affect children directly
ners, boys have been encouraged to be assertive, indepen- through their differential treatment of sons and daughters, a
dent, achievement-oriented, and competitive; as future pattern to which fathers, in particular, are often prone
homemakers and mothers, girls have been encouraged to be (Adams & Coltrane, 2005; Lytton & Romney, 1991;
relationship-oriented, obedient, and nurturing (see Block, Maccoby, 1992). For instance, parents expect daughters,
1983; Hoffman, 1977). As girls move into adolescence, they more often than sons, to perform routine household labor
may experience a conflict between “affiliative and achieve- such as cooking or cleaning, whereas boys are more often
ment needs” (Block, 1983, p. 1339; see Hoffman, 1972), as expected to take responsibility for outdoor chores such as
they see educational and career achievement as antagonistic lawn care (Antill, Goodnow, Russell, & Cotton, 1996; Blair,
to marriage and motherhood (Hoffman, 1977). 1992). In this way, expectations about gendered family roles
Because educational achievement is correlated with occu- are transmitted intergenerationally.
pational success, educational guidance has historically been Moreover, boys’ and girls’ adjustment may be linked to
channeled along stereotypical family-role lines. Boys have gender socialization processes (Huselid & Cooper, 1994)
been expected to aspire to and achieve higher educational such that girls are more prone to internalize problems, and
outcomes than girls, who have been expected to lower their boys to externalize them (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1987).
educational aspirations in favor of marriage and child rearing Socialization into stereotypical gender orientations, includ-
(Haggstrom, Kanouse, & Morrison, 1986; Hanson, 1994). ing “masculine” instrumentality and “feminine” expressiv-
This tendency reflects the outcome, at least in part, of various ity, may be linked to such gender-bifurcated symptoms of
socialization practices that contribute to adolescent girls’ adjustment problems in adolescents (Hoffmann, Powlishta,
lowered self-esteem, aspirations, and attainments (Carter & & White, 2004). Previous research has pointed to adoles-
Wojtkiewicz, 2000). Although these tendencies are currently cence as an important period in the emergence and/or
changing for some women (Mickelson, 1989), in several exacerbation of gender differences in symptoms of inter-
ethnic/racial groups, including African Americans (Hanson, nalizing and externalizing behaviors (Nolen-Hoeksema &
1994) and Latino/as (Zambrana & Zoppi, 2002), educational Girgus, 1994; Rozario, Kapur, Rao, & Dalal, 1994);
outcomes for women still lag behind those of men. adolescence is, therefore, “an ideal age at which to study
Psychological and socialization theories suggest that the causes of gender differentiation of symptoms of
gender-polarized stereotypes promote gender-based divi- pathology” (Hoffmann et al., 2004, p. 795).
sions of labor in the home (Bem, 1993; Coltrane, 1998). Although the increasing salience of gender egalitarian
Women’s egalitarian gender ideology is a consistent attitudes in the United States has weakened gender stereo-
predictor of household labor sharing. When wives believe types somewhat, studies continue to show the prevalence of
that both paid work and family work should be shared, and gender-bifurcated socialization practices (Huston &
when they endorse equality between women and men, Alvarez, 1990; see Ruble, Martin, & Berenbaum, 2006,
housework is more likely to be shared between partners. for a recent review). Moreover, gender socialization has
Some studies also show that men who hold egalitarian been shown to intensify during adolescence (Hill & Lynch,
views share more housework or child care, although results 1983; Ruble et al., 2006), particularly when parents’
are mixed (Coltrane, 2000). Although rigid gender-based attitudes toward gender are more traditional (Arnett,
differences in marriage and parenting are declining, hus- 2001). Prior research on family labor and gender socializa-
bands and wives continue to perform different household tion has been largely based on non-Latino/a White families.
tasks under somewhat different circumstances (Thompson Nevertheless, relevant studies suggest that divisions of
& Walker, 1989). In general, husbands and wives who hold labor in Latino/a families are related to gender-based
more stereotyped views of gender-bifurcated roles within attitudes toward marriage and that the development of
marriage share less housework and parenting, whereas men adolescent Latino/as is shaped by gendered socialization
and women with less polarized gender attitudes share more practices (Coltrane, Parke, & Adams, 2004; Raffaelli &
family work (Coltrane, 2000). In addition, women continue Ontai, 2004). To explore such claims, researchers need
to bear responsibility for household labor management; measures of gender attitudes whose scores exhibit accept-
they notice when things need to be done and set the able levels of reliability and validity across ethnic groups.
standards for doing them (Coltrane, 1996, 2000; Thompson However, scales that attempt to make distinctions among
& Walker, 1989). the various dimensions of gender attitudes are rare. Hoffman
Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339 327
and Kloska (1995) reported only one previous measure of spheres is more evident in the lower economic strata
parents’ gender-based attitudes toward child rearing (Burge, (Coltrane, 2000; Press & Townsley, 1998). Moreover, non-
1981) and another measure that focuses on parents’ employed married women hold more stereotyped views than
reactions to children’s counter-stereotyped behavior (Katz employed women do, and their husbands and children hold
& Walsh, 1991). Designed to supplement these measures, more traditional views than their counterparts in mother-
the GATCR (Hoffman & Kloska, 1995) focuses primarily employed families (Hoffman & Kloska, 1995; Greenberger,
on attitudes of parents toward independence and achieve- Goldberg, Crawford, & Ganger, 1988). More stereotyped
ment for boys and girls, and also includes one item about gender attitudes are also consistently found to correlate with
counter-stereotyped toys (i.e., sons and dolls). fewer years of schooling (Glass, 1992), a relationship that
Hoffman and Kloska (1995) validated the GATMR and tends to hold across different racial and ethnic groups
GATCR in two different ways, with a sample of middle and (Hoffman & Kloska, 1995; Oropesa, 1996). Finally, as noted
lower class African American and European American below, Latino/as are more likely than the general population
families. First, they examined the relationship of each scale to endorse gender differentiated duties and obligations for
to various demographic variables previously shown to relate husbands and wives.
to gender traditionalism. Women, generally, and employed
mothers, in particular, were less traditional in their gender
attitudes, as were men and women who reported more Gender and Ethnicity: A Focus on Latino/a Families
education and higher socioeconomic class; being African
American was related to more gender traditionalism. Hoffman Comparatively little research has been done on the gender
and Kloska then assessed the predictive validity of the scale role attitudes of Mexican American families (for some
and found that marital role attitudes correlated with reports of exceptions, see Denner & Dunbar, 2004; Leaper & Valin,
husbands’ share of household labor and that parents’ gender 1996; Raffaelli, 2005; Raffaelli & Ontai, 2001, 2004)
attitudes, generally, related to their children’s gender stereo- despite the fact that Latino/as comprise the largest minority
typing. Mothers’ more progressive attitudes toward child group in the United States (Coltrane et al., 2004). Although
rearing predicted increased internal locus of control, indepen- assumptions abound concerning the traditionalism of
dence, and higher academic achievement for daughters. Mexican American families, including hypermasculinized
These gender-based attitude scales were also validated gender attitudes (machismo) of Latino men and family-
by Hoffman and Youngblade (1999) in their study of the oriented, self-sacrificing attitudes (marianismo or hem-
effects of maternal employment on well-being in European brismo) of Latina women (Denner & Dunbar, 2004; Garza,
American and African American families. Maternal em- 2001; Gil & Vazquez, 1996), tests of these assumptions are
ployment predicted less gender-stereotyped marital roles relatively rare (for exceptions, see Garza, 2001; Mirandé,
and role attitudes for both women and their spouses but had 1997). Some studies show more traditional attitudes in
no direct effect on gender-stereotyping in child rearing. Mexican American families than in either European
Fathers who participated more frequently in child care or American or African American families (Kane, 2000),
who performed more routine household tasks were less although other research suggests that, as families accultur-
likely to hold traditional gender attitudes toward child ate, the gender attitudes of men and women become more
rearing. Finally, fathers’ participation in routine housework egalitarian (Leaper & Valin, 1996).
was also related to mothers’ more egalitarian gender Moreover, cultural values concerning the significance of
attitudes toward child rearing. families may encourage Mexican Americans to experience
the intersection of gender and family arrangements in a
unique way. For instance, the notion of familismo adds
Gender Attitudes, Ethnicity, and Social Class complexity to the study of gender attitudes in Latino/a
families. Familistic values invoke solidarity and identifica-
Prior researchers have identified links between social class tion with immediate and extended family, as well as strong
and gender attitudes. More stereotyped gender attitudes (i.e., bonds of loyalty, devotion, and family-centered concern
more “traditional” views) usually correlate with lower (Sabogal, Marín, Otero-Sabogal, Marín, & Perez-Stable,
socioeconomic status. Less family income and lower levels 1987; Valenzuela & Dornbusch, 1994). Familism distin-
of occupational prestige are often associated with a belief in guishes family as the consummate support network,
separate spheres for men and women, though sometimes men particularly for new immigrants or families in economically
with higher income are also found to hold more stereotyped challenging situations (Stack, 1974). An overarching
gender attitudes (Schaninger & Buss, 1986). Although familistic orientation may influence how family members
working-class couples are about as likely as professional- perceive and structure their gendered arrangements. For
class couples to share family work, an ideology of separate instance machismo, seen as male dominance, sexism,
328 Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
hypermasculinity, and aggression, and applied stereotypi- pointed out, “Latino child-rearing practices encourage the
cally to Latino men (Garza, 2001), may denote more development of a self-identity embedded firmly within the
positive qualities such as honor, respect, courage, and context of the familia (family). One’s individual identity is
responsibility when considered in the context of men’s therefore part of a larger identity with the familia.” Studies
family relations. Mirandé (1997) found that the Latinos he show that these aspects of Latino/a culture, including respect
studied often endorsed and adopted stereotypically femi- for family, elders, and the traditional gender roles of machismo
nine attitudes such as empathy, tenderness, and affection, and marianismo, remain highly salient to Latino/a parents,
and behaviors such as the propensity to cry. In support of which makes them likely topics of socialization (see
his sense of the existence of a “distinct Latino cultural ethic González, Umaña-Taylor, & Bámaca, 2006).
surrounding masculinity and fatherhood” (p. 115), Mirandé For these reasons, it is important to examine the gender
observed that men “scoring high on traditionalism more attitudes of Latino/as, to evaluate the ways in which those
often listed not supporting the family or being irresponsible attitudes are transmitted intergenerationally, and to assess
as the worst or lowest thing” a man could do (p. 107). the applicability of measurement tools created for and
Latinas are influenced by familism and the centrality of validated with other ethnic groups. The present study
the virgin mother (Gil & Vazquez, 1996; Raffaelli & Ontai, extends the literature on gender attitudes by exploring the
2001; Tiano & Ladino, 1999). Femininity is symbolically extent to which the Hoffman and Kloska (1995) gender scales,
tied to women’s preservation of virginity until marriage and or derivatives, may apply to Mexican American families.
their subsequent engagement in the domestic sphere and Specifically, we examined the following research questions:
self-sacrifice in the interest of husbands and children.
1. To what extent do factor analyses of responses to
Attitudes toward gender roles for Latinas continue to reflect
family-oriented gender attitude questions reflect the
this symbolism, even as gender role attitudes, generally,
factor structure of Hoffman and Kloska’s (1995)
may be drifting toward equality (Guendelman, Malin,
Gender-based Attitudes toward Marriage (GATMR)
Herr-Harthorn, & Vargas, 2001; Parke & Buriel, 2006).
and Gender-based Attitudes toward Child Rearing
Studies of gender socialization in Latino/a families indicate
(GATCR) scales in Mexican American families?
that daughters and sons are still subjected to different
2. How do these scales correlate with various dimensions
gender socialization experiences. For instance, young
of social class within this ethnic group?
Latinas experience tighter dating restrictions, more limits
3. How valid is the application of the GATMR to our
on after school activities, and greater control over the age of
sample? Do more traditional gender attitudes as
employment than do their brothers (Espin, 1984/1997;
reflected by the GATMR correlate with husbands’
Raffaelli, 2005; Raffaelli & Ontai, 2001, 2004; Villaruel,
lowered participation in routine household labor?
1998). In their study of Latinas’ familial sexual socializa-
4. How valid is the application of the GATCR-R to our
tion, Raffaelli and Ontai (2001) observed that parents
sample? Do more traditional parental gender attitudes
voiced concerns about the potential implications of daugh-
as reflected by the GATCR-R correlate with gender-
ters’ inappropriate sexual behavior for the family, as well as
stereotyped outcomes for daughters and sons reported
disdain for American-style courtship patterns, which they
by mothers and fathers, as well as with children’s
viewed as promiscuous. In spite, or because, of parental
reports of events occurring in their lives?
socialization practices that explicitly regulated romantic
involvement for daughters, the majority of Raffaelli and
Ontai’s (2001) sample of young Latinas engaged in covert
dating, either without their parents’ knowledge or with the Method
complicity of their mothers.
Generally speaking, adults’ attitudes toward gender roles Participants and procedure
can structure the attitudes and opportunities of the next
generation, as parents invoke and model “appropriate” For this analysis we relied on two waves of data from a
gender roles and children perceive differential expectations longitudinal study of the impact of economic stress on
for boys and girls (Denner & Dunbar, 2004). Moreover, Mexican American and European American families living
Latino/a parents’ gender attitudes, couched in values of in southern California (Coltrane et al., 2004; Parke et al.,
familism, may have a particularly strong effect on their 2004). With the help of public elementary schools, 278
children. Latino/a family relationships are also conditioned families (167 Mexican American, 111 European American)
by respect based on age. Children are expected to respect with at least one child in the fifth grade were recruited. Data
their parents for as long as they live (Parke & Buriel, 2006), were first collected in 1998 via separate face-to-face
which could reinforce receptivity to their parents’ gender interviews with mothers, fathers, and focal children; the
(and other) values. As Parke and Buriel (2006, p. 464) same method was used to collect the second wave of data in
Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339 329
1999 when the focal child was in sixth grade (see Tables 1 Table 2 Characteristics of mothers and fathers in sample at Wave 1:
and 2 for characteristics of the Mexican American sub- means, standard deviations, and differences by parental status.
sample; also Coltrane, Melzer, Vega, & Parke, 2005). For Fathers (N=167)a Mothers (N=167)a
the present study, we focused solely on the Mexican
American subsample of the data. Mean (SD) Mean (SD)
Approximately three-fourths of the Mexican American Age (yrs.) 38.9*** (6.20) 37.6 (6.06)
parents in the study were born in Mexico and came to the Education (in yrs) 9.3 (4.11) 9.3 (4.20)
United States after the age of 15, which makes them first Traditional gender 14.1** (3.71) 13.1 (3.86)
generation immigrants and their children part of the second attitudes about marriage
generation. Following sampling criteria designed to focus Traditional gender 9.1 (2.50) 8.6 (2.50)
on children who had completed all their schooling in the attitudes about
United States, all families had been living in the United
Routine housework 11.9 (11.44) 49.2*** (20.64)
States for at least 5 years. More than 80% of the Mexican
American children in the sample were born in the United
States. Seventy-one percent of the Mexican American N varies for each variable
parents elected to be interviewed in Spanish (rather than *p<.05 **p<.01 ***p<.001
English). In contrast, over 80% of the Mexican American
children chose to be interviewed in English. The Accultur-
ative Rating Scale for Mexican Americans (Cuellar, Arnold, normed on a sample comprised of European Americans
& Maldonado, 1995) was administered to the Latino/a (77%) and African Americans (23%); psychometrics were
parents, 57% of whom scored in the “Mexican-oriented” good, and reliabilities for the scale scores ranged from .77
range, 32% in the bi-cultural range, and 11% in the “Anglo- to .85 (Hoffman & Kloska, 1995). Both scales were shown
oriented” range. Forty percent of Mexican American to have good face reliability (see also Hoffman &
mothers were employed at Wave 1, and Mexican American Youngblade, 1999).
households averaged 5.9 individuals at that time (Table 1). Items that comprise the full scales are shown in Table 3.
Cronbach’s alphas for Mexican American mothers and
Instruments fathers in the current sample are .82 (mothers and fathers)
for the 6-item GATMR and .62 (mothers) and .58 (fathers)
Hoffman and Kloska’s (1995) gender attitudes scales for the 7-item GATCR, both measured at Wave 1 of data
The battery of measures administered to mothers and
fathers in our sample included the 6-item Gender-based Household division of labor
Attitudes toward Marital Roles (GATMR) and the 7-item
Gender-based Attitudes toward Child Rearing (GATCR) To assess household labor, we used items and response
scales developed by Hoffman and Kloska (1995). The formats taken from the National Survey of Families and
scales were created to measure the presence of gender- Households (Sweet, Bumpass, & Call, 1988). Fathers and
stereotypical attitudes in the context of family arrange- mothers rated themselves and their spouses on the number of
ments. The GATMR incorporates items related to the weekly hours devoted to each of five household tasks: meal
division of labor, and the GATCR incorporates items preparation, house cleaning, shopping for groceries and
related to childhood socialization into values of indepen- household goods, washing dishes or meal cleanup, and
dence and achievement. These scales were originally laundry. We used Wave 1 data and the mean of estimates by
father and mother, and computed father’s percentage
contribution to the total couple hours of housework (for a
Table 1 Characteristics of families in sample at Wave 1. discussion of methodological issues in collection and
reporting of household labor data, see Coltrane, 2000). For
child supervision, as with household labor, fathers and
mothers estimated the number of hours that they and their
Mean/% (SD) spouses spent per week supervising their children. Using
mother’s and father’s mean estimates at Wave 1, we
Income 35,769 (29,067) computed father’s percentage contribution to the total couple
Percent mothers employed 40% (.49)
hours of child supervision performed.
Household size 5.9 (1.94)
Responsibility for housework was assessed by asking
N varies for each variable fathers and mothers two questions: (1) Who notices when
330 Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
Table 3 Factor analysis of gender-based attitudes by mothers and fathers: 13-item model.
Item Oblimin Loading
F1 F2 F1 F2
Some equality in marriage is okay, but by and large, the man should have the main say-so. .66 .11 .68 −.06
A husband’s job is more important than a wife’s. .65 .26 .64 .13
It isn’t always possible, but ideally the wife should do the cooking and the housekeeping .71 .12 .72 −.17
and the husband should provide the family with money.
For a woman, taking care of the children is the main thing, but for a man his job is. .61 .24 .60 −.05
Men should make the really important decisions in the family. .72 .28 .66 −.01
A man should help in the house, but housework and child care should mainly be a woman’s job. .59 .25 .65 .09
Cronbach’s Alpha .82 .82
It’s okay for children to help around the house, but I would not ask a son to dust or set the table. .34 .45 .47 .07
Education is more important for sons than for daughters. .30 .50 .35 .20
It is as important to steer a daughter toward a good job as it is with a son. (Reverse coded) −.06 .31 .09 .52
I would give a daughter as much encouragement and help in getting an education .10 .39 .13 .61
as I would with a son. (Reverse coded)
It is more important to raise a son to be strong and independent than to raise a daughter that way. .47 .58 .61 .48
It is more important to raise a son so he will be able to hold down a good job when he’s .55 .67 .68 .50
grown, but that’s not so major with a daughter.
I see nothing wrong with giving a little boy a doll to play with. (Reverse coded) .17 .04 .05 −.18
Cronbach’s Alpha .62 .58
Note. Factors are labeled as follows: F1 indicates Gender-based Attitudes toward Marriage, and F2 indicates Gender-based Attitudes toward Child
Rearing. All items are measured at Wave 1.
things need to be done around the house?, and (2) Who sets Internalizing scores and externalizing scores were comput-
standards for how housework should be done? Responses ed separately and generated for mothers and fathers by
were based on a 5-point scale (Always me/Usually me/ summing mothers’ or fathers’ scores for all items of each
Both/Usually spouse/Always spouse). Answers were subscale. Higher scores reflected mothers’ or fathers’
recoded so that higher scores reflect fathers taking more re- perceptions that their children exhibited greater internaliz-
sponsibility. Mothers’ and fathers’ responses to the two items ing or externalizing behavior.
were summed to create an index of Father’s Responsibility
for Housework. Dimensions of social class
Child adjustment problems To examine the relationship of social class to gender
attitudes, we created categorical levels of various class
We measured child adjustment at Wave 1 by drawing on the dimensions, based on Wave 1 data, to enable within-group
internalizing and externalizing subscales of the parent comparisons. Income level was developed based on the
version of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; median group income of $28,000. Education level was
Achenbach, 1991). Cronbach’s alphas for the internalizing determined based on the number of years of school
subscale were .80 and .83 for Mexican American mothers attendance, either fewer than 12 years or 12 years and more.
and fathers, respectively. For the externalizing subscale, Families were also categorized based on mothers’ employ-
Cronbach’s alphas were .83 and .88 for Mexican American ment (full- or part-time) or non-employment status.
mothers and fathers, respectively. Parents were asked about
behaviors or attitudes their children may be exhibiting, such Life Events Checklist
as “feels worthless or inferior” (internalizing behavior) or
“gets into many fights” (externalizing behavior) that We examined the relationship of parental gender attitudes to
suggest problems with adjustment. Possible responses to events that occurred in the focal child’s life by looking at
individual items included “(0) not true”, “(1) somewhat or the child’s responses to the Life Events Checklist at both
sometimes true”, and “(2) very true or often true”. waves of data collection. As discussed above, parental
Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339 331
gender socialization has previously been shown to affect Results of the first stage of the analysis are presented in
child behavioral outcomes, particularly as they relate to Table 3, which uses the data from our sample of Mexican
dating, education, and aggressive behaviors. This checklist American families (n=167) to factor analyze, by parental
was adapted from the Iowa Youth and Families Project (see status, the 13 gender attitude items employed by Hoffman
Conger & Elder, 1994, for project description). The original and Kloska (1995). Item loadings on Factor 1 (GATMR)
checklist was taken from the Junior High Life Experiences are relatively unambiguous for both mothers and fathers;
Survey, which exhibited good psychometric properties (Ge, item loadings (all except one in excess of .60) are
Lorenz, Conger, Elder, & Simons, 1994; Swearingen & considered to be “very good” (see Comrey & Lee, 1992).
Cohen, 1985). Reliabilities for the GATMR were acceptable, calculated to
The Life Events Checklist used in the present study be .82 for mothers and fathers. Item loadings on Factor 2
consisted of 45 events that could have occurred in the focal (GATCR) are more ambiguous. For mothers, all items,
child’s life, some of which were under the child’s control except two, load above .32, which is considered to be the
and some of which were not. In the first wave of data minimum adequate loading by Tabachnick and Fidell (2001)
collection, the child was asked whether or not the event had and generally load distinctly on Factor 2. One exception (“It
occurred during the previous year; in the second wave, the is as important to steer a daughter toward a good job as it is
child was asked whether the event had occurred since the with a son”) loads at .31. One additional item (“I see nothing
time of the first response. Children responded either “no” wrong with giving a little boy a doll to play with”) loads
(coded 0) or “yes” (coded 1) to each item. From the full list higher on Factor 1 at .17. For fathers, four items load higher
of 45 events, for this study we examined the results of five on Factor 1 than on Factor 2. Two of the remaining three
separate occurrences over which the child had some items load uniquely on Factor 2 at .45 (“fair” according to
ostensible control and which included outcomes that other Comrey and Lee (1992)) or above, and the remaining item
research has shown to correlate with traditional socializa- regarding giving dolls to boys loads negatively at −.18 on
tion practices. These items included: “You began to date”, Factor 2. Cronbach’s alphas for Factor 2 were .62 for
“You argued more with parents”, “You got into trouble with mothers and .58 for fathers, respectively, both of which were
classmates”, “You were not accepted into an important below the alpha level of .70 generally considered to be
school activity”, and “You were suspended from school”. desirable (Schmitt, 1996).
Because of the discrepancy in factor structure between
mothers’ and fathers’ Factor 2, a revised GATCR (hereafter
Results referred to as GATCR-R) was developed in the second stage
of the analysis. Two items (“Education is more important for
Our first research question was explored by factor analysis of sons than for daughters” and “I see nothing wrong with
the 13 gender attitude questions previously used by Hoffman giving a little boy a doll to play with”) from the original
and Kloska to construct their gender scales (see Table 3). Our GATCR were dropped to bring fathers’ Factor 2 structure
analytical goal was to advance exploration of these scales into greater alignment with mothers’. Principal axis factor-
with a differently composed sample, so we employed factor ing using oblimin rotation with Kaiser normalization was
analytic techniques informed, but not necessarily con- used on the remaining 11 items, and results are shown in
strained, by Hoffman and Kloska’s two-factor solution. We Table 4. This table presents the final baseline factor models,
employed exploratory factor analysis in order to explore the which include a 6-item GATMR scale and a 5-item
underlying processes that produced correlations among the GATCR-R scale. Although one item shown under mothers’
13 gender attitude items rather than to confirm a priori and three items under fathers’ GATCR-R continue to load
hypotheses (see Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). higher on Factor 1 than Factor 2, we retained all items as
Specifically, we used principal axis factoring to extract part of the GATCR-R because they were conceptually
factors and oblimin rotation with Kaiser normalization consistent with other Factor 2 items. Cronbach’s alphas for
because this method better addresses our goal of developing the GATCR-R are .61 for mothers and .65 for fathers, both
theoretical assumptions regarding gender attitudes as of which remain modest. Although these alphas are below
underlying constructs than does principal components the desirable .70 reliability level, some researchers have
analysis (see Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). Because “real- argued that lower alpha values may be reasonable, parti-
world” implications of attitudes toward gender norms led us cularly when the measure is complex or when it provides
to believe that the resulting factors might be correlated, we “meaningful content coverage of some domain” (Schmitt,
chose an oblique (direct oblimin) rather than orthogonal 1996, p. 352; also see Kember, Biggs, & Leung, 2004).
rotation method (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). Considered in this light, the reliabilities for the GATCR-R
Statistical analyses were conducted in stages in order to can be viewed as acceptable, albeit on the modest side. For
accommodate emerging results in subsequent phases. GATMR, as mentioned previously, Cronbach’s alphas are
332 Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
Table 4 Factor analysis of gender-based attitudes by mothers and fathers: 11-item baseline model.
Item Oblimin Loading
F1 F2 F1 F2
Some equality in marriage is okay, but by and large, the man should have the main say-so. .66 .11 .69 .03
A husband’s job is more important than a wife’s. .65 .17 .63 .20
It isn’t always possible, but ideally the wife should do the cooking and the housekeeping .71 .07 .75 −.09
and the husband should provide the family with money.
For a woman, taking care of the children is the main thing, but for a man his job is. .61 .21 .60 .03
Men should make the really important decisions in the family. .72 .23 .65 .07
A man should help in the house, but housework and child care should mainly be a woman’s job. .59 .27 .64 .18
Cronbach’s Alpha .82 .82
It’s okay for children to help around the house, but I would not ask a son to dust or set the table. .36 .35 .45 .14
It is as important to steer a daughter toward a good job as it is with a son. (Reverse coded) −.03 .31 .03 .52
I would give a daughter as much encouragement and help in getting an education .12 .37 .08 .61
as I would with a son. (Reverse coded)
It is more important to raise a son to be strong and independent than to raise a daughter that way. .49 .61 .59 .54
It is more important to raise a son so he will be able to hold down a good job when he’s .58 .72 .67 .60
grown, but that’s not so major with a daughter.
Cronbach’s Alpha .61 .65
Note. Factors are labeled as follows: F1 indicates Gender-based Attitudes toward Marriage, and F2 indicates Gender-based Attitudes toward Child
Rearing (as revised). All items are measured at Wave 1.
an acceptable .82 for mothers and fathers. Response those above the median to hold traditional attitudes toward
categories for the final scale items ranged from (1) strongly marriage, although the differences in fathers’ attitudes bet-
disagree to (4) strongly agree; several items were reverse ween the two income groups did not quite reach statistical
coded, as noted on Table 4. Higher scores on the GATMR significance (p<.10). The difference in mothers’ gender atti-
and GATCR-R reflect more traditional gender attitudes. tudes toward marriage between the two income groups was
These baseline models were used in all subsequent analyses. statistically significant, t=3.28, df=143, p<.001, as were the
As reported by Hoffman and Kloska (1995), the two differences in attitudes between both mothers and fathers
subscales were correlated with each other. For Mexican with less than 12 years of education and their counterparts
American mothers in our sample the GATMR and GATCR-R with 12 or more years of education, t=4.61, df=159, p<.001,
are correlated at r=.44 (p<.0001), and for Mexican American and t=3.57, df=154, p<.001, respectively. Although non-
fathers at r=.48 (p<.0001). Husbands’ and wives’ responses on employed Mexican American mothers were significantly
the GATMR are correlated at r=.29 (p<.0001), although their more traditional in their attitudes toward marriage than were
responses on the GATCR-R are not significantly correlated. employed Mexican American mothers, t=3.48, df=164,
p<.001, fathers whose wives were employed were not
Construct validation significantly different in their attitudes toward marriage than
were fathers whose wives were not employed.
Construct validity was addressed first by examining the Significant differences in the GATCR-R were mostly
relation of the scales to various dimensions of social class. evident for Mexican American mothers. Those with lower
We expected parents to hold traditional gender attitudes incomes, t=2.58, df=143, p<.01, and less education, t=2.41,
when they were less educated, when they lived in non- df=159, p<.05, held more traditional attitudes toward child
employed-mother households, and when family income was rearing than did their higher income, more educated counter-
lower. After dividing relevant demographic variables into parts. Similarly, non-employed mothers were significantly
dichotomous categories as described above, we performed more traditional in their child rearing attitudes than were
t-tests on the differences in mean scores between categories employed mothers, t=3.35, df=164, p<.001. Mexican
for both mothers and fathers. Analyses (see Table 5) showed American fathers with fewer than 12 years of education
that Mexican American fathers and mothers below the were also significantly more traditional in their child rearing
median group income of $28,000 were more likely than attitudes than were their more highly educated counterparts,
Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339 333
Table 5 Means, standard deviations, and t-test results on the GATMR and the GATCR-R for fathers and mothers by dimensions of social class at
N Mean (SD) t-val N Mean (SD) t-val
Below median 70 14.74 (3.72) 1.91 71 14.16 (3.92) 3.28***
Median and above 74 13.58 (3.60) 74 12.15 (3.43)
Fewer than 12 yrs. 99 14.98 (3.71) 3.57*** 102 14.21 (3.45) 4.61***
12 yrs. or more 57 12.86 (3.32) 59 11.51 (3.79)
Mother not employed 99 14.30 (3.42) .85 99 13.96 (3.75) 3.48***
Mother employed 66 13.80 (4.09) 67 11.91 (3.67)
Below median 70 9.30 (2.60) 1.46 71 9.07 (2.67) 2.58**
Median and above 74 8.69 (2.42) 74 8.01 (2.25)
Fewer than 12 yrs. 99 9.73 (2.12) 4.10*** 102 8.95 (2.41) 2.41*
12 yrs. or more 57 8.11 (2.78) 59 7.98 (2.52)
Mother not employed 99 9.10 (2.34) .29 99 9.10 (2.47) 3.35***
Mother employed 66 8.99 (2.73) 67 7.82 (2.34)
Median income: $28,000 *p<.05 **p<.01 ***p<.001
t=4.10, df=154, p<.001. There was, however, no statistically the smaller the percent of child supervision the men perform,
significant difference in child rearing attitudes between fathers although results do not reach significance (p<.10) for either
in the different income groups or between those whose wives’ mothers or fathers: both r=−.14. Taken together, these
worked and those whose wives were not employed. findings provide support for this test of construct validity
The second stage of construct validation involved corre- of the GATMR with Mexican American families.
lations between the gender-based attitude scales and other We took two approaches to testing for the validity of the
behaviors that previous research suggests may be related to GATCR-R. The first approach involved examining the
gender traditionalism (research questions 3 and 4). To the relation between the scale scores and children’s reports of
extent that higher scores on the GATMR correlate with various events that had occurred in their lives (see Table 7).
fathers’ decreased share of household labor and other family Based on theory, previous research, and Latino/a cultural
work, validity of the scale can be supported. We correlated values, we expected that events in the lives of daughters
three measures of the division of family labor with the whose parents held more traditional gender attitudes toward
GATMR for mothers and fathers (see Table 6). Fathers’ child rearing would be more oriented toward marriage and
percent of housework hours is consistently and significantly less oriented toward educational achievement than would
correlated with higher GATMR scores in the predicted
direction, mothers: r = −.33, p < .001; fathers: r = −.17,
Table 6 Correlations between mothers’ and fathers’ GATMR scores
p<.05. For families in which mothers and fathers hold more and fathers’ participation in family labor at Wave 1.
traditional views about marital gender roles, men do
proportionately fewer hours of housework. GATMR Scores
Results are similar for father’s responsibility for house- Mothers Fathers
work and his share of child supervision (Table 6). When (N=167)a (N=167)a
either mothers or fathers hold more traditional views about
gender roles in marriage, the men take less responsibility Father’s percent housework hours −.33*** −.17*
for noticing when housework should be done or setting Father’s percent child supervision hours −.14 −.14
Father’s responsibility for housework −.20** −.26***
standards for how to do it, mothers: r=−.20, p<.01; fathers:
r=−.26, p<.001. Similarly, the more traditional mothers and a
N varies for each variable
fathers are in their attitudes toward gender roles in marriage, *p<.05 **p<.01 ***p<.001
334 Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
events in the lives of daughters with less traditional parents. rearing appear to be less appreciably related to their sons’
On the other hand, we expected that events in the lives of activities. Mothers’ GATCR-R scores are significantly and
sons of gender-traditional parents would be more likely to negatively correlated with their sons’ reports of beginning to
demonstrate the boys’ assertiveness than would events in date, at Wave 1: r=−.23, p<.05. Fathers’ GATCR-R scores,
the lives of sons with more gender-liberal parents. The on the other hand, are significantly correlated with sons’
second approach involved investigating parental percep- reports of arguing more with parents, at Wave 1: r=.23, p<.05.
tions of their children’s adjustment behaviors. Here we For the second analysis of construct validity, we again
expected that traditional gender attitudes toward child divided the sample by parental status and sex of focal child,
rearing would be related to an increased likelihood of then correlated scores on parents’ gender attitudes toward
parents perceiving externalizing behaviors in sons and child rearing with their rating of children’s internalizing and
internalizing behaviors in daughters. externalizing behaviors (see Table 7). Scores on mothers’
To conduct the first of these analyses, we divided the gender-based attitudes toward child rearing are significantly
sample by parental status and sex of focal child, then calcu- and positively correlated with their perceptions of daugh-
lated correlations between scores on parents’ gender attitudes ters’ internalizing, r=.26, p<05, and externalizing, r=.24,
toward child rearing and children’s responses to the five life p<.05. Gender-traditional Mexican American mothers are
event questions described previously; Table 7 presents the significantly more likely to perceive symptoms of adjust-
results. Specifically, mothers’ GATCR-R scores are signifi- ment problems in their daughters’ behaviors, whereas
cantly and positively correlated with their daughters’ reports fathers’ gender traditional attitudes toward child rearing
of initiation of dating, at both Waves 1 and 2 of data are not related to their perceptions of daughters’ internal-
collection: r=.23, p<.05 for both, their exclusion from izing or externalizing behaviors. Results also show that
important school activities, at Wave 1: r=.26, p<.01, and neither mothers’ nor fathers’ gender attitudes toward child
their reports of getting into trouble with classmates, at Wave rearing are significantly related to their perceptions of sons’
1: r=.27, p<.01. Also positively correlated, but not reaching externalizing or internalizing.
statistical significance (p<.10), are mothers’ GATCR-R
scores and daughters’ reports of arguing more with their Discussion
parents, at Wave 1: r=.18. Fathers’ GATCR-R scores are
significantly and positively correlated with their daughters’ Our purpose was to explore and extend the cross-ethnic
reports of suspension from school, at Wave 2: r=.22, p<.05, applicability of the Hoffman and Kloska (1995) gender-
and significantly and negatively correlated with daughters’ based attitudes measures and to assess subscale score
reports of increased arguments with parents, at Wave reliability and validity in a sample of Mexican Americans.
1: r=−.25, p<.05. Fathers’ scores are also positively With respect to our research question 1 regarding factor
correlated with daughters’ reports of dating initiation by structure, although the 13 original items loaded well for
Wave 1, but the correlation does not quite reach significance mothers, they loaded less consistently for fathers. A revised
(p<.10), r=.19. Parents’ gender attitudes toward child Gender-based Attitudes toward Child Rearing scale
Table 7 Correlations between
mothers’ and fathers’ GATCR- GATCR-R Scores
R scores and children’s life
events and parental perceptions Mothers (N=167)a Fathers (N=167)a
of children’s behaviors.
Boys Girls Boys Girls
Child’s rating of life events:
Began to date (Wave 1) −.226* .226* −.090 .193
Began to date (Wave 2) −.199 .226* −.083 −.026
Argued more with parents (Wave 1) −.102 .175 .228* −.247*
Got into trouble w/ classmates (Wave 1) −.067 .271** −.080 −.037
Not accepted into important school activity (Wave 1) .058 .259** −.047 −.105
Suspended from school (Wave 2) −.108 −.145 .067 .223*
Fathers’ rating of:
Child’s internalizing behaviors (Wave 1) .116 −.029 −.068 .073
Child’s externalizing behaviors (Wave 1) −.093 −.165 −.189 −.102
Mothers’ rating of:
Child’s internalizing behaviors (Wave 1) .195 .261* .029 .098
N varies for each variable Child’s externalizing behaviors (Wave 1) .036 .239* .146 .042
*p<.05 **p<.01 ***p<.001
Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339 335
(GATCR-R) that eliminated two of the original items and with focal children’s reports of events occurring in their
brought mothers’ and fathers’ factor loadings into greater lives. Parental socialization tends to occur along the lines of
congruence was developed. Factor analysis of the final 11 accepted cultural beliefs, and our analysis suggests that
items demonstrated very good loadings for the GATMR, traditional Latino/a cultural patterns of machismo and
weaker loadings for the GATCR-R, but acceptable reli- marianismo guide bifurcated patterns of parental gender
abilities for both scales for mothers and fathers. socialization. In terms of the former, we found significant
Our second question involved testing the construct correlations between fathers’ more traditional attitudes
validity for each scale by examining the relation of the toward child rearing and sons’ reports of increased
scales to dimensions of social class. In accord with previous assertiveness characterized by arguing more with parents.
research, within-group differences supported the validity of This finding corresponds to previous research findings (see
the GATMR and the GATCR-R, particularly for Mexican Block, 1983), which suggest that traditional fathers instill
American mothers. Thus, mothers with less income, fewer more instrumental traits (assertiveness and independence,
than 12 years of education, and those who were not for instance) in their sons and that, at times, instrumentality
employed were significantly more likely to hold traditional taken to an extreme may become aggressiveness (see
gender attitudes toward marital roles and child rearing. Payne, 1987; also Silvern & Katz, 1986). This finding also
Mexican American fathers with fewer than 12 years of suggests that more traditional Latino fathers are likely to
education were also more likely to hold traditional gender promote machismo in their sons.
attitudes toward marital roles and child rearing, although Marianismo, on the other hand, is a bit more nuanced in
neither income level nor wife’s employment status were its practical application, and might be perceived as sending
related to their gender attitude traditionalism. Generally somewhat contradictory messages to adolescent Latinas. As
speaking, then, we found support for the validity of both the a cultural belief, marianismo implies a woman’s complete
GATMR and the GATCR-R for Mexican Americans. devotion to family and supreme valuation of her role as
Our research questions 3 and 4 deal with the second test wife and mother, as well as the value of preserving a girl’s
of the construct validity of scores for each of the gender virginity until marriage. Previous researchers (Raffaelli &
scales. Validity of the GATMR was supported in terms of Ontai, 2001) have noted that Latino/a parents restrict their
the generally strong negative correlations between tradi- daughters’ dating activities in order to accomplish the latter
tional gender-based attitudes toward marriage and father’s goal, and their daughters engage in covert dating in order to
share of housework, and between gender-based attitudes advance the former. This dilemma was articulated in
and his taking responsibility for household labor. When Raffaelli and Ontai’s (2001) study by “Olivia,” a 25- year-
mother or father held more traditional attitudes, the father old Latina who described her parents’ expectations regard-
did less of the routine household chores, and he was less ing her romantic involvement: “because you’re a girl you
likely to notice when things needed doing or to set stan- can’t date until a certain age...and so I always thought how
dards for the housework. Although not reaching signifi- are we supposed to get married if we can’t even meet
cance, the negative correlation between fathers’ share of somebody?” (p. 304). Thus, although traditional parental
child supervision and both mothers’ and fathers’ GATMR socialization practices may curb romantic activities, tradi-
scores suggested a similar pattern. The lower correlations tional parental beliefs about the value of marriage for
among Mexican Americans between gender attitudes and women may serve as an enticement for their daughters to
men’s performance of child supervision could be influenced engage in romantic encounters. In our study, the finding
by several factors, including economic marginality, large that adolescent Latinas with more gender traditional parents
families, and family-centered ideals and practices. The begin dating sooner than those with more progressive
ability of familism to pull Mexican American men into parents may reflect either a reaction to repressive dating
more involved fathering has been explored in previous rules or it may reflect these adolescents’ internalization of
studies (see Coltrane et al., 2004). Family rituals common the traditional gendered message that women’s primary life
in Mexican American families, such as eating the evening goal is to be a wife and mother. Either way, we believe that
meal together and spending time together on weekends, are these findings contribute to support of the validity of the
associated with high levels of family cohesion, father-child gender attitude toward child rearing scale.
interaction, and paternal monitoring. Such findings help to Additional validation is provided for the GATCR-R by
explain why gender-based attitudes might be less strongly our findings regarding the relation of gender traditional
associated with paternal child supervision in Mexican parenting to daughters’ relative disengagement from school.
American families. Here we found that girls whose parents held more tra-
We took two approaches to examining the validity of the ditional attitudes toward child rearing were more likely to
GATCR-R (research question 4), the first of which involved experience various school-related problems. Other studies
correlating parental scores on the gender attitudes scale have shown that, although this is beginning to change, it is
336 Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339
during adolescence that girls may start to scale back their As discussed below, the relative lack of significant
educational aspirations in response to the increased rele- correlations between parents’ traditional gender attitudes and
vance of heterosexual relationships (Hoffman, 1977) or the their sons’ reports of life events is not surprising, given that
realization that occupational opportunity is relatively most of the events examined in the Life Events Checklist are
limited for them (Carter & Wojtkiewicz, 2000). Latinas somewhat negative. Generally speaking, traditional gender-
are at particular risk for dropping out of school, having the bifurcated socialization focuses on instilling instrumental
lowest graduation rate of any female ethnic group (Zambrana characteristics in boys. These traits tend to be culturally
& Zoppi, 2002). Moreover, when they do aspire to higher valued (both in American culture and in conjunction with
education, they are often scolded by family or boyfriends for machismo), and it is only when those traits are exacerbated
being too educated (Ginorio & Huston, 2001). Our findings, to become aggressiveness that they take on a negative cast.
along with those of other researchers, are in concert with Parents’ gender traditionalism in child rearing was also
theories of traditional socialization that speak to the ways in seen to correlate with daughters’ tendency to argue with
which girls are channeled into marriage and motherhood, as parents. Girls with gender-traditional fathers were less like-
well as with empirical findings that daughters’ achievement ly to report increased arguments with parents in the
orientation is affected by parents’ traditional gender attitudes preceding year. This finding coalesces with previous theory
(see Carter & Wojtkiewicz, 2000; Eccles, Jacobs, & Harold, and empirical research (see Block, 1983), which suggests
1990; Hoffman, 1972; Hoffman & Kloska, 1995). that girls are socialized to be obedient and sensitive to
Somewhat more ambiguous is our finding that boys with others’ feelings in preparation for their familial roles as
gender-traditional mothers were less likely to begin dating wives and mothers.
by fifth grade (Wave 1 of the study) than were boys whose Our second approach to ascertaining the validity of the
mothers were less traditional. One possible reason for this GATCR-R produced somewhat more ambiguous results,
finding may be that traditional Latina mothers may be which may relate to the complexity of evaluating adoles-
discouraging both daughters and sons from participating in cents’ externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Our find-
“Americanized” dating patterns, which they consider to be ings show that mothers who hold traditional gender-based
promiscuous and potentially dishonorable to the family. attitudes toward child rearing are more likely than mothers
Moreover, Latinos, unlike Latinas, have fewer cultural who are more progressive in their gender attitudes to per-
pressures to marry. Although they have been shown to have ceive their daughters’ behaviors as symptoms of psycho-
fewer formal parental constraints on their romantic endeav- pathology. Because we were examining mothers’ ratings of
ors, they may also be in no particular hurry to begin dating. daughters’ behaviors, we were unable to definitively
On the other hand, some research has suggested that ascertain whether these findings result from a characteristic
Latinos start dating earlier than Latinas, they date women of traditional mothers that predisposes them to view
younger than themselves, and they are less likely than daughters’ behaviors as psychopathological or whether
Latinas to date within their ethnic group (Raffaelli, 2005). their daughters are in fact displaying more maladjustment
Possibly, sons of traditional mothers are more traditional than those whose mothers are less traditional. We acknowl-
and ethnic-identified themselves (see González et al., edge that we cannot, in fact, make a definitive causal
2006), and they desire to postpone dating until they are attribution in this instance; we can, however, speculate that
able to find a “suitable” Latina partner who has officially if mothers’ traditional attitudes caused them to view their
“come of age.” Because most of the research to date on daughters’ behaviors as maladjusted, fathers’ traditional
Latino/a dating patterns has focused on young women, attitudes would likely cause fathers to view sons’ behaviors
future research is needed to resolve this question. similarly (as the same-sex socializing agent). As fathers’
Although fewer in number, life events reported by boys traditional gender attitudes toward child rearing have no
also lend support to validation of the GATCR-R. Sons with relation to their perception of sons’ (or daughters’)
traditional gender-oriented fathers were significantly more behaviors, we are led to speculate that daughters may, in
likely to report that they argued more with their parents fact, exhibit more maladjustment when their mothers are
than were sons of non-traditional fathers. This finding also gender-traditional than when their mothers are not.
correlates with traditional socialization theories and empir- If we assume the latter, how can this finding be
ical studies that suggest that boys are socialized to be more explained, and does it lend validity to the GATCR-R? We
assertive and independent in order to prepare them to assume predicted, above, that when parents were more gender-
family breadwinning duties (see Block, 1983). These values traditional in their child rearing attitudes, daughters would
are reinforced by the cultural notion of machismo, which exhibit more internalizing behaviors and sons would exhibit
prepares Latinos not only to be family providers, but for more externalizing behaviors. Previous research does
hierarchical, patriarchal family relations in which they are suggest that boys tend to externalize more than girls and
the authority figures. girls tend to internalize more than boys, nevertheless
Sex Roles (2007) 56:325–339 337
research indicates that neither behavior type is “exclusive to fathers. Thus, if we take into account this more nuanced
one gender” (Hoffmann et al., 2004, p. 796). Moreover, interpretation of adolescents’ psychopathology, our findings
rather than a function of sex, per se, psychopathology ap- lend support to the validity of the GATCR-R.
pears to be more a function of instrumentality and ex- Although our findings support Hoffman and Kloska’s
pressivity, generally considered to be masculine and (1995) Gender-based Attitudes toward Child Rearing Scale,
feminine traits, respectively. That is, the tendency of boys/ as adapted, we note the complexity of child rearing values
men to externalize is due more to the negative relationship and behaviors in Mexican American families. Rather than
between expressivity and externalizing than it is to the detracting from the validity of existing measures such as
weaker positive relationship between instrumentality and those developed by Hoffman and Kloska, the intersection of
externalizing behaviors (Hoffmann et al., 2004). Similarly, Latino/a cultural values with more mainstream American
the tendency of girls/women to internalize is largely due to socialization practices calls for a more in-depth and nuanced
the negative relation between instrumentality and internal- interpretation of results. Additional research is warranted to
izing, particularly as researchers find little connection explore the meaning of traditional attitudes toward child
between expressivity and internalizing (Hoffmann et al., rearing for Mexican Americans, particularly in light of the
2004; Huselid & Cooper, 1994). Moreover, prior research cultural values of familismo, machismo, and marianismo.
suggests that perceived self-competence mediates the Future research on the meaning of traditional child rearing
gender trait differences in psychopathology, such that in Latino/a families, in the context of these cultural values
greater perceptions of self-competence lead to less inter- and how they change (or not) as they intersect with more
nalizing and less externalizing behavior (see, for instance, mainstream American notions of child rearing, would add
Cate & Sugawara, 1986). Finally, whereas both instrumen- richness and depth to the burgeoning literatures both on
tality and expressivity lead to increased self-competence, child rearing attitudes and on immigrant families.
the former relation appears to be stronger than the latter. Our findings add to the literature on the applicability of
Thus, instrumentality buffers against both internalizing and gender-based attitude scales for Latino/a families. We
externalizing symptoms by bolstering one’s perception of believe that further research, with larger and more diverse
self-competence (Hoffmann et al., 2004). samples, is warranted. Taken together, our findings support
The Latina adolescents in our sample of Mexican the validity and value of using Hoffman and Kloska’s
American families may be subject to “gender intensifica- Gender-based Attitudes toward Marriage and Gender-based
tion” (Crouter, Manke, & McHale, 1995) when they live Attitudes toward Child Rearing Scales with Latino/a
with parents who are traditional in their attitudes toward families in future research. Above all, our findings suggest
gender socialization. Traditional Latino/a parents are likely the importance of continued exploration of the relationship
to see marianismo not only as a socialization practice but as of gender attitudes to family arrangements for different
a cultural value. Rather than merely transmitting these ethnic and cultural groups.
gender attitudes intergenerationally, when parents transmit a
belief in marianismo to their daughters, they are transmit-
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TITLE: Cross-ethnic Applicability of the Gender-based Attitudes
Toward Marriage and Child Rearing Scales
SOURCE: Sex Roles Ment Health J 56 no5/6 Mr 2007001
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