Sex as a status characteristic: An examination of sex differences in locus of control

E. Yuchtman-Yaar*, R. Shapira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The conceptualization of sex as a status characteristic has been recently advanced (Meeker & Weitzel-O'Neill, 1977) as an explanatory principle for the apparently inconsistent findings regarding the relationship between sex and role specialization (e.g., the task/expressive distinction). This study is concerned with the validity of sex-as-status hypothesis and its potential generality examined in the context of research on locus of control. It is argued that sex differences in this variable may represent a special case of a more general pattern of relationships between status differentiations and locus of control. Conceived as realistic responses to position in the social hierarchy, beliefs in internal control are expected of higher status persons, while an external orientation is anticipated for individuals of lower status. This proposition has been empirically tested in a sample of Israeli college students. The findings lend support to the hypothesis, showing that females' tendency to external orientation is reinforced if they come from lower-class families; correspondingly, males' a priori internal orientation is more sharply pronounced if they come from the higher social classes. The theoretical appeal of the sex-as-status hypothesis vis-à-vis some alternative perspectives is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1981


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex as a status characteristic: An examination of sex differences in locus of control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this