What do measures of gender identity tell us about gender identity over time? (2024)

Authors: Ellena Fisher, Srah Wright and Cora Sargeant
Published: 2024
Publication: British Journal of Developmental Psychology

Gender identity is a multifaceted concept and is represented by a wide range of measures and constructs including both self-report and researcher observations of preferences and behaviours. However, despite their similar theoretical underpinning, gender identity measures are rarely found to correlate with one another, and contrasting patterns and trajectories are often found for each construct (Egan & Perry, Developmental Psychology37, 2001, 451). Therefore, this systematic review aimed to present a review of the longitudinal research evidence surrounding gender identity development in the absence of formal intervention. Using a systematic search strategy, 21 studies were identified. Narrative synthesis was used to synthesize the data collected in these studies and trajectories were explored for (1) self-identification measures of gender identity, (2) clothing preferences, (3) peer preferences, and (4) object/activity preferences. Overall, the results of this systematic review are consistent with wider research suggesting that distinct developmental patterns can be observed when using different constructs and measures of gender identity.

Fisher, E., Wright, S., & Sargeant, C. (2024) What do measures of gender identity tell us about gender identity over time? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1111/bjdp.12491

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