An Exploration of Black College Students’ Conformity to Gender-Role Norms on Gender-Role Stress and Depression


  • April T. Berry University of South Alabama, USA
  • Linda J. M. Holloway Alabama State University, USA



conformity, gender role norms, Black college students, stress, depression


Gender-role norms have caused men and women to be limited to many of the expectations that distinguish masculinity and femininity. Thus, the societally derived idea of what “makes a man a man” or a “woman a woman” has become the topic of gender-role conflict. Previous studies have investigated gender-role conflict between masculinity and femininity and gender-role norms, but there is a gap in understanding how conforming to gender-role norms affect mental health, particularly among Black cisgender college students. The present study examined the adherence to gender-role norms and its impact on gender-role stress and depression that results from conforming to traditional ideology in a sample of Black cisgender college students (n = 120). An Independent Samples T-Test revealed statistically significant differences between Black men’s and women’s conformity to gender-role norms and their reported experiences of gender-role stress, but not depression. Results suggest there are psychological consequences of conforming to traditional role norms for both Black male and female college students and could potentially impact how these students perceive their gender-roles in society.


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Author Biographies

April T. Berry, University of South Alabama, USA

April T. Berry, MS, is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Alabama and a      Psychology Intern at the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center.  Her major research interests lie in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on a college campus and within the broader world, social justice advocacy, racial and gender socialization experiences among people of color, and coping with oppressive systems (i.e., discrimination/racism).  Email:

Linda J. M. Holloway, Alabama State University, USA

Linda J.M. Holloway, Ed.D., NCC, is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the master’s in counseling Programs at Alabama State University. Her major research interests lie in the area of Black women and their mental wellness, career counseling, social justice advocacy, and cultural literacy among young children. Email:


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