Research Topic

Gender Roles in the Future? Theoretical Foundations and Future Research Directions

About this Research Topic

The study of gender is deservedly a major focus of research in the discipline of psychology in general and social psychology in particular. In 1987, Alice Eagly formulated Social Role Theory to explain the behavior of women and men as well as the stereotypes, attitudes, and ideologies that are relevant to sex and gender. Enhanced by several extensions over the intervening years, this theory became one of the pre-eminent, if not the central, theory of gender in social psychology. Also, over the last decades, a variety of new approaches to understanding gender have been developed, including, for instance, stereotype threat theory, status and backlash theories, precarious manhood theory, and the steroid/peptide theory of social bonds.

The ongoing interest in gender reflects increasing recognition of its centrality in the understanding of social behavior. There is good reason for this sustained interest. Gender continues to be a driving force in world politics and economics, as evident in the struggles of women to attain parity in political institutions, the impact of traditional religions in many parts of the world, the falling birthrates in many industrialized nations, and the challenges of female refugees across Europe and other regions of the world. Also, gender itself is currently undergoing redefinition as the two primary sex categories are expanding to accommodate multiple gender and sexual identities, including transgender status.

The study of gender is broadly positioned across the field of social psychology whereby it encompasses recent analyses of topics such as the evolution of sex and gender, mate selection and attraction, leadership, gender identities and their intersectionalities, conflict resolution and negotiation, aggression and prosocial behavior, emotion, language, occupational segregation and stress, representation in decision-making bodies including corporate boards, and implicit processes as drivers of sex discrimination. Many of these topics link social psychology to other areas of specialization in psychology, such as personality, developmental, cultural, industrial-organizational, and educational psychology as well as to the other social science disciplines of sociology, political science, and economics. The next step in psychological gender research is to integrate social role theory and related approaches to provide an extended theoretical foundation for gender research of the future.

The research theme proposed for Frontiers in Psychology therefore should attract promising new work that bridges from existing theories to new insights and topics. This emerging gender research encompasses multiple levels of analysis, shifting gender intersectionalities, and differing cultural contexts.


Keywords: gender, sex, roles, sexism, stereotypes


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The study of gender is deservedly a major focus of research in the discipline of psychology in general and social psychology in particular. In 1987, Alice Eagly formulated Social Role Theory to explain the behavior of women and men as well as the stereotypes, attitudes, and ideologies that are relevant to sex and gender. Enhanced by several extensions over the intervening years, this theory became one of the pre-eminent, if not the central, theory of gender in social psychology. Also, over the last decades, a variety of new approaches to understanding gender have been developed, including, for instance, stereotype threat theory, status and backlash theories, precarious manhood theory, and the steroid/peptide theory of social bonds.

The ongoing interest in gender reflects increasing recognition of its centrality in the understanding of social behavior. There is good reason for this sustained interest. Gender continues to be a driving force in world politics and economics, as evident in the struggles of women to attain parity in political institutions, the impact of traditional religions in many parts of the world, the falling birthrates in many industrialized nations, and the challenges of female refugees across Europe and other regions of the world. Also, gender itself is currently undergoing redefinition as the two primary sex categories are expanding to accommodate multiple gender and sexual identities, including transgender status.

The study of gender is broadly positioned across the field of social psychology whereby it encompasses recent analyses of topics such as the evolution of sex and gender, mate selection and attraction, leadership, gender identities and their intersectionalities, conflict resolution and negotiation, aggression and prosocial behavior, emotion, language, occupational segregation and stress, representation in decision-making bodies including corporate boards, and implicit processes as drivers of sex discrimination. Many of these topics link social psychology to other areas of specialization in psychology, such as personality, developmental, cultural, industrial-organizational, and educational psychology as well as to the other social science disciplines of sociology, political science, and economics. The next step in psychological gender research is to integrate social role theory and related approaches to provide an extended theoretical foundation for gender research of the future.

The research theme proposed for Frontiers in Psychology therefore should attract promising new work that bridges from existing theories to new insights and topics. This emerging gender research encompasses multiple levels of analysis, shifting gender intersectionalities, and differing cultural contexts.


Keywords: gender, sex, roles, sexism, stereotypes


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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02 April 2018 Manuscript

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

02 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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