Introduction

Gender differences are always a popular subject among psychology students and in the general population. The well-known social psychologist Sandara Bem (1944-2014) developed a sex role inventory to measure different aspects of hypothesized psychological gender traits.

This measure has not been without criticism (see references), and one can question its usefulness. Nevertheless, it has been a popular test and can be of use in student projects. It has been argued it is still a valid measure today by some (cf., Carver et al., 2013), but not by others (Colley et al., 2009).

This questionnaire has 2 subscales (each with 20 items) and 20 neutral items:

  1. Masculinity (how masculine is your psychological profile)

  2. Femininity (how feminine is your psychological profile)

The scores are given on the 1-7 scales, thus if you have a score of 4, you are exactly in the middle.

If people score above median on both scales, they are considered to be "androgymous". A good paper with details about score is that of Hoffman and Borders, which you can read for free from here.

There are various ways to score androginity, please make sure you check the freely accessible links I have given in the references at the end of this webpage.
The scale has been debated much, and it is recommended to carefully read the background literature, such as the Hoffman and Borders paper.

Run the demo

You can download the BSRI measure from various places on the web, but it is not clear whether it can be freely used for research purposes.

Technically

The demo code below demonstrates a number of useful features of PsyToolkit’s online questionniares:

  • You can use HTML tags within scales descriptors

  • You can average sub-items in the set command

The feminine, masculine, and neutral items are not interleaved in this implementation (for educational reasons — this way you can think about what the test considers feminine — do you really think being "shy" is a more feminine feature?) — also check the Shyness scale (McCroskey) here on PsyToolkit.

You can recode it yourself if you want an interleaved order.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: howoften
- almost<br>never true
- rarely true
- less than<br>half the times true
- neutral
- more than<br>half the times true
- often true
- almost<br>always true

l: BEM_F
t: scale howoften
o: width 20%
q: Rate yourself on each item
- yielding
- cheerful
- shy
- affectionate
- flatterable
- loyal
- feminine
- sympathetic
- sensitive to other's needs
- understanding
- compassionate
- eager to soothe hurt feelings
- soft spoken
- warm
- tender
- gullible
- childlike
- does not use harsh language
- loves children
- gentle

l: BEM_M
t: scale howoften
o: width 20%
q: Rate yourself on each item
- self reliant
- defends own beliefs
- independent
- athletic
- assertive
- strong personality
- forceful
- analytical
- leadership ability
- willing to take risks
- makes decisions easily
- self-sufficient
- dominant
- masculine
- willing to take a stand
- aggressive
- acts as a leader
- individualistic
- competitive
- ambitious


l: BEM_N
t: scale howoften
o: width 20%
q: Rate yourself on each item
- helpful
- moody
- conscientious
- theatrical
- happy
- unpredictable
- reliable
- jealous
- truthful
- secretive
- sincere
- conceited
- likable
- solemn
- friendly
- inefficient
- adaptable
- unsystematic
- tactful
- conventional

l: feminine
t: set
- mean $BEM_F.1 $BEM_F.2 $BEM_F.3 $BEM_F.4 $BEM_F.5 $BEM_F.6 $BEM_F.7 $BEM_F.8 $BEM_F.9 $BEM_F.10 $BEM_F.11 $BEM_F.12 $BEM_F.13 $BEM_F.14 $BEM_F.15 $BEM_F.16 $BEM_F.17 $BEM_F.18 $BEM_F.19 $BEM_F.20

l: masculine
t: set
- mean $BEM_M.1 $BEM_M.2 $BEM_M.3 $BEM_M.4 $BEM_M.5 $BEM_M.6 $BEM_M.7 $BEM_M.8 $BEM_M.9 $BEM_M.10 $BEM_M.11 $BEM_M.12 $BEM_M.13 $BEM_M.14 $BEM_M.15 $BEM_M.16 $BEM_M.17 $BEM_M.18 $BEM_M.19 $BEM_M.20

l: neutral
t: set
- mean $BEM_N.1 $BEM_N.2 $BEM_N.3 $BEM_N.4 $BEM_N.5 $BEM_N.6 $BEM_N.7 $BEM_N.8 $BEM_N.9 $BEM_N.10 $BEM_N.11 $BEM_N.12 $BEM_N.13 $BEM_N.14 $BEM_N.15 $BEM_N.16 $BEM_N.17 $BEM_N.18 $BEM_N.19 $BEM_N.20

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your scores on the Bem Sex Role Inventory are as follows:<br>
Ratings rank from 1 to 7, with a mean of 4
<ul>
<li>Femininity: {$feminine}
<li>Masculinity: {$masculine}
<li>Neutral items: {$neutral}
</ul>
Interpretation:<br>
<ul>
<li>If both your Femininity and Masculinity score are above 4, you are 'androginous'.<br>
<li>If both your Femininity and Masculinity score are below 4, you are 'undifferentiated'.<br>
<li>The neutral items are not further interpreted
</ul>
There are different ways to do the scoring.<br>
Therefore, you are recommended to read the papers on the PsyToolkit library website.<br>
Note that the interpretation is not generally accepted and that there has been a lot of debate about<br>
the interpretation. Also, it is culture specific, so please be cautious with the interpretation.<br>
Finally, this PsyToolkit questionnaire has sorted by scale, whereas it might be better to mixed them all randomly.<br>

References

  • Bem, S. L. (1974) The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162.

  • A. Colley, G. Mulhern, J. Maltby, A.M. Wood. (2009). The short form BSRI: Instrumentality, expressiveness and gender associations among a United Kingdom sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 384-387.

  • E. Pedhazur (1979). Bem Sex Role Inventory: A Theoretical and Methodological Critique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 996-1016

  • The following paper is open access and explains the test very well (read here):

    1. F. Carver, A. Vafaei, R. Guerra, A. Freire, and S. P. Phillips (2013). Gender Differences: Examination of the 12-Item Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI-12) in an Older Brazilian Population. Plos ONE, 8, e76356.

  • Hoffman, R.M. & Borders, L.D. (2001). Twenty five years after the Bem Sex Role Inventory: A reassessment and new issues regarding classification variability. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34, 39-55 Download paper here

  • Rating document, note though, that the scale items for androgynous are actually Neutral items. The above Hoffman and Borders paper is much better, but this one just lists the items easily: Retrieved from