Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Philosophy


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Deborah Mower

Second Advisor

Donovan Wishon

Third Advisor

Bryan Smyth

Relational Format



This project considers the implications of gender dysphoria under two prominent theories of gender development, gender schema theory (GST) and social cognitive theory (SCT). Gender dysphoria is considered a significant motivator for transgender behavior and is presented in the DSM-5 as the experience of a strong desire, or as primarily affective in nature. GST and SCT differ in a number of ways, most notably in the role affect plays for gender development and behavior motivations. The former places primary emphasis on environmental influences, leaving the role of affect in question, while the latter posits gender behavior and motivation as an interaction of three sources: behavior, environment and cognitive/personal factors, which among them include affective elements. However, the importance GST places on self-concept and its assimilation with gender schemas offers a potential source of affect common in later self-concept literature. As well, studies looking comparatively at academic performance applications of self-concept and self-efficacy, both crucial to gender and agency in GST and SCT respectively, found self-concept researchers treated affect and cognition as co-contributors to perceptions of self and motivation, while self-efficacy researchers viewed affect as a consequence of cognitive inputs, and kept cognitive/affective components distinct. Despite these and other differences, the constructs also share some similarities. We conclude in line with the findings of Bong et al. that self-efficacy may be incorporated as part of the cognitive/affective structure of self-concept, but further add doing so may offer the opportunity to apply similar research methodologies used in academic performance research, to the research of gender performance. To that end, we consider a possible approach utilizing gender structure theory to identify the interactional aspects of cis and transgender performance that may be useful in clarifying the role of affect in motivating gender performance more broadly.



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