Gender Differences in Personal Relationships: Toward a Comprehensive Theory

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(11), 764-765. Canary and Emmers-Sommer argue that researchers have used stereotypes to explain gender differences in personal relationships. They refute stereotype explanations by arguing that stereotypes neither adequately explain nor describe gender differences in personal relationships. Instead, they claim that men and women are more similar than different and that the differences that do exist are largely inconsistent with the pattern one would expect from a stereotypical view of women as communal and men as agentic. Canary and Emmers-Sommer do an excellent job of supporting their claim that stereotypes do not account for gender differences in relationships. However, weaknesses in the context in which they place their literature review and in their attempts to provide a theoretical account for gender in personal relationships result in this book (see record 1997-36568-000) being unable to adequately guide future research on gender in personal relationships. The field needs a theory of gender differences that explains and predicts the circumstances in which gender differences are and are not likely to emerge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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