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The relationship of gender, sex role, and law-and-order attitudes to nuclear opinions

Peterson, C.C., Lawrence, J.A. and Dawes, I. (1990) The relationship of gender, sex role, and law-and-order attitudes to nuclear opinions. Sex Roles, 22 (5-6). pp. 283-292.

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Australian students' attitudes to nuclear weapons were considered in relation to sex-role identification and political orientations. By including a measure of sex-role orientation, we hoped to clarify earlier confusion surrounding gender as a predictor of nuclear views. Our hypothesis was that men and women with feminine sex-role orientations would display the strongest antinuclear feelings. Also, we predicted that an authoritarian political stance advocating strict law-and-order on the domestic front would predict support for nuclear weapons in international defense. The subjects were 46 male and 62 female first-year university students. The measure of nuclear attitudes was a 23-item inventory (NARQ) which had previously been extensively refined and validated for Australian populations (Jennings & Lawrence, 1986). The BSRI (Bem, 1974) measured sex-role orientation. An Australian law-and-order scale was also developed for this research. Latent trait models for rating data were applied to NARQ and law-and-order scales. The results revealed sex differences on approximately one-third of the nuclear opinion items, with men expressing stronger support for nuclear weapons in every case. Authoritarian law-and-order attitudes likewise predicted support for nuclear weapons in both men and women. A stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that BSRI masculinity and law-and order made separate, statistically significant, contributions to overall variation in nuclear views. These results were considered in relation both to previous research and to practical implications for political behavior.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: © 1990 Plenum Publishing Corporation
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