The influences of sex and gender-role identity on moral cognition and prosocial personality traits

Eva E A Skoe, Amanda Cumberland, Nancy Eisenberg, Kristine Hansen, Judi Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


The relations of sex and gender-role identity to moral thought and prosocial personality traits were examined. Two hundred and nine men and women rated the importance of real-life, care-related, justice-related, and mixed (both care- and justice-related) moral dilemmas. Responses on the real-life and mixed dilemmas also were scored for care and justice orientations. Women and feminine persons viewed moral conflicts as more important than did men and masculine people. On the mixed dilemmas, women scored higher than men on care reasoning, whereas men scored higher than women on justice reasoning. Regardless of sex or gender role, relational real-life dilemmas evoked higher importance and care reasoning scores than did nonrelational ones. Women and persons high in femininity showed more empathic concern for other people. Masculine persons scored lower on personal distress, whereas androgynous persons reported more helpful behaviors than did all others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-309
Number of pages15
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - May 2002



  • gender roles
  • moral orientation
  • prosocial personality
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Studies

Cite this