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  • Topic 2. Gender differences in psychological adjustment Examine gender differences in the psychological adjustment of children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 15 years. Answering this question requires (a) critical evaluation of the evidence

Topic 2. Gender differences in psychological adjustment Examine gender differences in the psychological adjustment of children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 15 years. Answering this question requires (a) critical evaluation of the evidence Essay Example

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Gender Difference in Psychological Adjustment

Gender Difference in Psychological Adjustment


Gender differences in children’s emotion expression and psychological adjustment have been observed as early as preschool years, with female children and adolescents geed 7 to 15 years being less likely to demonstrate anger, and more likely to display sadness, than boys. One source of influence on these gender differences might be the socialization pressures that orient girls and boys toward diverse roles in life. These socialization pressures, nevertheless, might not usually be overt or obvious, but might be faint, passed on in the form of differential attention to girls’ and boys’ expressions during incidents, attention that might subtly encourage expression of particular emotions and discourage others. This might contribute to the tendency for females to be more likely than boys, to express submissive emotions, like anxiety and sadness, and for males to be more disposed to convey disharmonious emotions, like laughing at one another and anger.

Gender Differences in Psychological Adjustment to Child Abuse

Examinations on the effects of child abuse and neglect have included gender differences in psychological adjustment to abuse. Gender differences in expression of symptom on the basis of the exposure to physical and sexual abuse were revealed in a study conducted by Rensick, Blum, and Chandy (1996). The outcomes of this study showed that male adolescents who were victims of sexual abuse experienced more problems in delinquent behaviors, marijuana use , school, as well as sexual risk taking behavior in comparison to girls who were victims, who reported increased degrees of disordered eating, suicidal behavior and ideation, and a higher frequency of taking consuming alcohol. On the other hand, Arends and Garnefski (1998) showed that sexual abuse was equally connected with behavioral and emotional problems and suicidal ideation in adolescent females and males, but delinquent and aggressive behavior was highly prevalent in male adolescents. These diverging findings obstruct our understanding of probable gender related impacts on the sequelae of sexual abuse. It’s similarly possible that the findings of the subsisting research based samples on both female and male participants might be puzzled by the effect of gender.

Gender Differences to Psychological Adjustments to Divorce

Children and adolescents always lose a degree of contact of their attachment figures when their parents divorce. It is a stressful and confusing time for adolescents and children, in spite of whether a divorce was agreeable or not. According to Boooth et al (2000), there are numerous national studies that reveal poor school performance, behavior problems, and low self esteem and adjustment problems associated with divorce. They note that there are greater instances of early sexual activity, delinquent behavior and constant academic issues. Gender difference amid children in a divorced family play a very significant role in the way they adjust. This is true at the duration of divorce and has long tem impacts in adult life. Several investigations have agreed that girls and boys respond differently to the diminished contact with a main attachment figure. Boys appear to have a hard time with divorce, leading them to have problems at school; withdrawals form social interactions and fights with peers (Kobak, 1999).

Nevertheless, Amato and Keith (2001) conducted a follow up investigation to this study and established that behavior traits are ranked in children and adolescents with divorced children and detected negative behaviors. The study emphasizes that disadvantages connected with divorce are identical for girls and boys. The stress on children and adolescents is equal, but the only difference is the way they express it. There is a high probability of the boys acting out during the period of divorce, by showing anger and aggression at the situation. On the contrary, girls tend to keep this aggravation inside. This pent up emotion is conceptualized to demonstrate its impacts later in their lives and this effects are dangerous because they occur at a vital period when young women make decisions that have lasting inferences for their lives. When they are suddenly overcome by anxieties and fears, they start making connections amid these feelings and the divorce of their parent (Kobak, 1999).

Gender Identity and Psychological Adjustment

According to Carver, Yunger, and Perry (2003), gender identity serve diverse affect adjustment or psychological functions in different ways. Children who experience high felt pressure for gender conformity display greater signs of internalized anguish that those who are freer of gender stereotypes. Internalized pressure from the society for gender conformity disposes boys to utilize power to attain dominance and disposes girls to subordinate their individual desires, interests and needs to those of other people. This pressure disposes boys to repress communal behaviors and hide the feelings of sadness, fear, tenderness and weakness. These suggestions propose the theory that felt pressures makes children to take on negative constituents of same gender stereotypes for instance, antisocial inclinations for boys and subservience for girls and also to shirk positive constituents of other gender stereotypes such as boys’ communal behavior, and girls’ agentic traits (Carver, Yunger, & Perry, 2003).

Sex Differences in Stress and Coping Processes

A research on gender differences in exposure to distressing interpersonal life incidents, with a particular focus on stress in a peer group reveals that girls are more stressed with peers than boys. Nevertheless, a closer investigation of this pattern of gender differences in distressing circumstances and events suggests numerous clarifications that are required in this research area. Firstly, this set of studies entails assessments of varying types and ranges of events. For instance, numerous studies focus more precisely on distressing events related to romantic relationships or friendships, while others include a range of stressors (Rose, & Rudolph, 2006).

It is not clear whether gender differences are driven by larger exposure to particular forms of peer stressors in girls than in boys. , Secondly, gender differences in exposure to peer stress might differ across development and based on whether the stressor is dependent or self-generated (implying an incident which a person contributed, like an argument with a friend) versus independent implying an incident that is outside one’s control, like a friend moving away. One study found that girls didn’t experience much stress than boys in childhood. Nevertheless, during adolescence medium impact favoring girls was established for dependent peer stress (Rose, & Rudolph, 2006).

Gender Differences in Depression

Girls are more likely to admit symptoms of depression than boys, and this diversity is usually due to the fact that girls are more open and boys being more likely to utilize denial. Likewise, girls are highly prepared to seek assistance than boys for their depression. Girls are more likely to recall episode not formerly nominated and to recall more symptoms, whereas boys are highly likely over time to forget formerly reported episodes. This is due to gender differences in coping repertoires where girls re more likely to directly experience depression and ruminate on issues and boys being highly likely to distract themselves or use drugs as well as engage in reckless behavior. Socialization and social influences are main contributors of gender differences in depression. Girls internalize depression and anxiety and seek self esteem from their families and friends while boys externalize depression and are more likely to attain their self esteem and exert power across public sphere (Cambron, Acitelli, & Pettit, 2009).

Sex linked responses to depression might contribute to gender differences in emotional adjustments. According to Burton, Stice and Seeley, (2004), the tendency of girls to display emotions and seek help from friends might in part cushion them from emotional distress. Through seeking support, girls are offered a reassurance that their problems may be solved and that they are valued in the society, and this decreases the chances of the stressors leading to reduced self esteem, sadness, and excessive worrying. In reality, getting social support from friends is connected with reduced levels of depressive symptoms. Nevertheless, the support seeking tendency presents a threat that girls will be fixated on talking about their problems, which might increase their levels of emotional distress. Conversely, the greater likelihood of boys to make problems light helps them to dwell on the problems and this be protected against emotional problems (Plancherel, & Bolognini, 1995).


The literature reveals that gender differences in psychological adjustment. Compared to boys, girls are more likely to express their emotions, seek help and ruminate in response to stress. Boys usually victims experience difficulties in adjusting to the stressful situations and display delinquent behaviors such as fighting and aggression, substance abuse while girls display fear and anxiety. While girls are open on issues regarding depression, boys usually deny that they are depressed and this seek self worth from the public sphere with girls seeking esteem from peers.


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Garnefski, N., & Arends, E., (1998). Sexual abuse and adolescent maladjustment: differences between male and female victims. Journal of Adolescence, 21, 99-70.

Kobak, R., (1999). The emotional dynamics of disruptions in attachment relationships, Guildford, New York.

Chandy, M., Blum, W., & Resnick, D., (1996). Gender specific outcomes for sexually abused adolescents. Child Abuse & Neglect, 20, 1219-1231.

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