Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality

Reversal Theory Studies

Is Motivational Style Related to Sex or Gender Identity? A Study of Young Singaporeans

Author: Richard Howard

Abstract: This study investigated whether individual diff erences in motivational style, as conceptualized and operationalized in reversal theory, are more closely linked to biological sex (male or female) or gender identity. The overarching hypothesis was that gender identity, but not sex, would be reflected in diff erent motivational styles. In a mixed-sex sample of Singaporean students, motivational style was measured using the Apter Motivational Style Profile – Revised (AMSP-R). The Singapore Androgyny Inventory was used to classify participants as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undi fferentiated. Confirming the hypothesis, motivational style profiles reflected gender identity, not sex. Masculine and androgynous participants scored higher than feminine participants on a majority of AMSP-R scales, while undiff erentiated participants scored uniformly low. Consistent with previous findings on gender identity in Singaporeans, a majority of both males and females did not show sex-congruent gender traits. The AMSP-R profiles of the sample as a whole reflected core cultural values of Singapore: desire for progress and achievement; to fit in and seek structure through rules, customs, and routines; and to achieve harmony and intimacy with others. Results support the dissociation of sex and gender cross-culturally and are compatible with the idea that individual differences in gender identity may at root reflect individual di fferences in motivational state.

Link to Article: 2016-V5-03-Howard

DOI: 10.12689/jmep.2016.503

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