Personality Differences by Gender

The Mormon polygynous communities share many of the gender stereotypes found among other American fundamentalist groups. Men have greater strength and are thought to be "more logical, assertive, physical aggressive, competitive" (Bartkowski, 2001, p. 40), whereas women are regarded as more interested in reproductive concerns which makes them more "nurturing, relational, emotionally expressive, gentle,... and [inclined toward] humble obedience" (Bartkowski, 2001, p. 40).

During the 19th century, women's natural callings as wife and mother were prominent themes in leading fundamentalists sermons. "The patriarchal family [therefore] envisioned a divine hierarchy that featured, in descending order of authority: God, Christ, man/husband/wife, children" (Bennion, 1998, p. 28). In every way women's role was perceived to be that of a supportive wife and self-sacrificing mother.

There is a striking difference between men and women concerning risk-taking. Young men are overwhelmingly prone to take chances that have resulted in serious bodily injury and death. These risky behaviors range from taking illegal drugs, binge drinking, recklessly driving a vehicle, flying a small one-man airplane with two men on board, to having sex with a married woman.

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