Social Role Theory of Sex Differences

Alice H Eagly, Wendy Wood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social role theory is a social psychological theory that pertains to sex differences and similarities in social behavior. Its key principle is that differences and similarities arise primarily from the distribution of men and women into social roles within their society. Through socialization and the formation of gender roles, the behaviors of men and women generally support and sustain the division of labor. In industrialized economies, for example, social roles are organized so that women are more likely than men to be homemakers and primary caretakers of children and to hold caretaking jobs in the paid economy. In contrast, men are more likely than women to be primary family providers and to assume full-time roles in the paid economy, often ones that involve physical strength, assertiveness, or leadership skills.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies
EditorsNancy Naples, Renee C Hoogland, Maithree Wickramasinghe, Wai Ching Angela Wong
StatePublished - 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Social Role Theory of Sex Differences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this