Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




One rather consistent finding from field dependence studies is that males are more field independent, more articulated in their approach to certain perceptual tasks, than females. It appears that cultural factors and the encouragement of independent behavior are related to the development of field dependence or field independence. If society plays a role in the development of individual differences in field dependence, a change in society such as the present movement toward greater equality in sex roles could possibly influence sex differences in field dependence. The present study was designed as a correlational study to assess sex role identity, attitudes, and behavior related to feminist versus more traditionally feminine ideals in relationship to each other and to field dependence.

To accomplish this task the Attitudes Toward Women Scale and Bern Sex Role Inventory were administered 40 male and 40 female subjects who were introductory psychology students in the spring of 1976. Male versus female dominated career choices and a dependency-conformity measure were utilized as behavioral measures. Each subject was also individually administered the embedded figures test and rod-and-frame test to determine degree of field dependence.

Results were that the measures of sex role identity, sex role attitudes, and behavior were not correlated significantly with each other or with the field dependence measures for females or for males. These findings bring into question research which classifies women as feminists or traditioqals on only one dimension, i.e., career goals or attitudes expressed on an attitude questionnaire on women's roles. It is felt feminism should be viewed as a multi-dimensional construct which can be expressed in varying degrees for different aspects of a women's life.