Some sex role development research has shown that fathers play a particularly important role in the adoption of cultural mores and sex-typed behavior by their sons (Lamb & Lamb, 1996). Opposing this view, Lynn (1996) states that the generalization, "like father, like son, " should be rejected. His research showed that sons were no more likely to imitate their fathers than they were a stranger or their mother. These results suggested that masculinity in male children appeared to be related to a combination of nurturance, dominance, and participation by the father. In studying the long-term effects of divorce on the sex role development of college-age students, Vess, Schwebel, and Moreland (1993) found that although shorter-term studies have indicated disruptions in sex role development in children of divorced parents, long-term effects were not significant.
They concluded that factors such as the age of the child at the time of divorce, presence, and age of siblings, and any postdivorce conflict do have effects on sex role development. Sack (1995) found disturbances in sex role development when children are under the age of four; the boys he treated were very angry that the divorce had occurred and that their fathers were gone.
They were afraid that expressing this anger to their mothers might result in being sent away, and that they would also lose their mothers. He suggested that the boy's masculine strivings were perceived as too risky, and their solution was to renounce their masculine identities and adopt feminine behavior patterns. Robin (1999) suggested that fathers who are absent are unable to serve as either personal or positional role models. If the male role is degraded, a male cognitive style is not developed.
The other available model choice, mother, becomes more rewarding. This, in his opinion, may have detrimental effects on the son's sex role development. Abbott's (1994) findings differed from those of Robin (1999) and Sack (1995). He found that in spite of the mothers' professed desire to have their children act in nontraditional ways, the children preferred traditional male sex-stereotyped behaviors
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