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SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY OF GENDER DEVELOPMENT AND DIFFERENTIATION

by Kay Bussey, Albert Bandura

Abstract

Human differentiation on the basis of gender is a fundamental phenomenon that affects virtually every aspect of people's daily lives. This article presents the social cognitive theory of gender-role development and functioning. It specifies how gender conceptions are constructed from the complex mix of experiences and how they operate in concert with motivational and self-regulatory mechanisms to guide gender-linked conduct throughout the life course. The theory integrates psychological and sociostructural determinants within a unified conceptual structure. In this theoretical perspective, gender conceptions and roles are the product of a broad network of social influences operating interdependently in a variety of societal subsystems. Human evolution provides bodily structures and biological potentialities that permit a range of possibilities rather than dictate a fixed type of gender differentiation. People contribute to their self-development and bring about social changes that define and structure gender relationships through their agentic actions within the interrelated systems of influence. Bussey, K., & Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation. Psychological Review, 106, 676-713.

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