Essay on The Bem Sex Role Inventory
The Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974) explores and measures the concept of androgyny using two factors: masculinity and femininity. The instrument has three subscales to measure the construct of androgyny: masculinity, femininity and social desirability (Bem, 1974). The original scale had 20 items each for these three subscales for a total of 60 items. Bem (1979) reduced the number of scale items to 10 for each subscale, maintaining two factors. Other researchers found four factors and debated factor analysis accuracy (see Pedhazur & Tetenbaum, 1979; Locksley & Colton, 1979; Bem, 1979). Additionally Spence & Helmrich, 1979 debated if the BSRI was the most accurate instrument to measure androgyny (i.e. PAQ versus BSRI). Although much debate has raged over the past three decades over BSRI factor extraction (see Twenge, 1997; Auster & Ohm, 2000) little or no attention is paid to the social desirability subscale.
The social desirability subscale as created by Bem (1974) consisted of 20 items that did not significantly load on either the masculinity or femininity construct and could therefore be categorized as gender neutral. Pedhazur and Tetenbaum (1979) critiqued the ambiguity of these neutral traits. These items are seen as “filler items” that a panel of judges commissioned by Bem found to be not desirable toward a particular gender and neutral toward both sexes (Bem, 1979).
A social desirability score can be computed yet there is little to no…