Personal Attributes Questionnaire

Spence, J. T., et al. (1974). The Personal Attributes Questionnaire: A measure of sex-role stereotypes and masculinity- femininity. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology 4:42.


The 24-item Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ) measures attributes that differentiate between the sexes. In addition, Spence et al. developed the 55-item Attitudes toward Women Scale (the short form has 15 items), which has items that describe the privileges, rights, and roles that women should have or be allowed to have.

Scale Construction:

The original 55-item PAQ contains three scales: a masculine scale (M) with 23 items, a feminine scale (F) with 18 items, and a masculine-feminine scale (M-F) with 13 items. One item could not be classified. The PAQ is based on over 130 items generated by students as characteristics that differentiate between males and females. The 55 items not only describe characteristics that differentiate between males and females, but also rep- resent the actual ratings of university males and females. The current 24-item PAQ contains the same three scales with eight items in each scale.


One set of normative data is available based on the rounded mean of the medians of the men and women in the high school sample. Another set of normative data derived by using the same procedure (rounded mean of the medians of the men and women) is available based on 715 university students.


Cronbach alpha reliabilities were 0.78 (M-F scale), 0.82 (F scale), and 0.85 (M scale). Correlations between the short form and the original scale were 0.91 (M-F scale) and 0.93 (M and F scales).


Factor analytic procedures confirmed the unidimensionality of the M and F scales. Information about concur- rent and predictive validity is reported.

Definition of Scales:

The Masculinity Scale consists of items that are socially desirable for both sexes, although men possess these characteristics more than women. The Femininity Scale consists of items that are socially desirable for both sexes, although women possess these characteristics more than men. The Masculinity-Femininity Scale consists of items whose social desirability varies between the sexes.

Data Analysis:

Two samples of university students yielded significant differences between the means of men and women on every item of the PAQ. Males scored higher on the M and M-F items, and scored lower on the F items. In addition, part-whole correlations were computed between each of the item scores and each of the three scales.


Coleman, H. L. (2009). The personality traits of instrumentality and expressiveness in relation to microcomputer playfulness. PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.

Gerhardstein, K. R. (2010). Attitudes toward transsexual people: Effects of gender and appearance. PsyD dissertation, Indiana State University.

Keener, E. (2010). Boys’ and girls’ strategies for managing peer conflict in adolescence. PhD dissertation, West Virginia University.

Persky, D. R. (2010). The ethical orientation of advertising executives: The relationship among ethical climate, sex role identity, and selected demographic and job variables. PhD dissertation, New York University.

Tatum, K. J. (2012). Adherence to gender roles as a predictor of compassion and self-compassion in women and men. PsyD dissertation, Baylor University.

Personal Attributes Questionnaire

Not at all aggressive                                                 Very aggressive

Very whiny                                                             Not at all whiny

Not at all independent                                               Very independent

Not at all arrogant                                                    Very arrogant

Not at all emotional                                                  Very emotional

Very submissive                                                       Very dominant

Very boastful                                                           Not at all boastful

Not at all excitable in a major crisis                            Very excitable in a major crisis

Very passive                                                            Very active

Not at all egotistical                                                  Very egotistical

Not at all able to devote self completely to others         Able to devote self completely to others Not at all spineless                                           Very spineless

Very rough                                                              Very gentle

Not at all complaining                                              Very complaining

Not at all helpful to others                                         Very helpful to others

Not at all competitive                                               Very competitive

Subordinates oneself to others                                    Never subordinates oneself to others

Very home oriented                                                  Very worldly

Very greedy                                                             Not at all greedy

Not at all kind                                                          Very kind

Indifferent to others’ approval                                    Highly needful of others’ approval

Very dictatorial                                                        Not at all dictatorial

Feelings not easily hurt                                             Feelings easily hurt

Doesn’t nag                                                             Nags a lot

Not at all aware of feelings of others                          Very aware of feelings of others

Can make decisions easily                                         Has difficulty making decisions

Very fussy                                                               Not at all fussy

Gives up very easily                                                 Never gives up easily

Very cynical                                                            Not at all cynical

Never cries                                                              Cries very easily

Not at all self-confident                                            Very self-confident

Does not look out only for self; principled                  Looks out only for self; unprincipled Feels very inferior                                  Feels very superior

Not at all hostile                                                       Very hostile

Not at all understanding of others                               Very understanding of others

Very cold in relations with others                               Very warm in relations with others

Very servile                                                             Not at all servile

Very little need for security                                       Very strong need for security

Not at all gullible                                                     Very gullible

Goes to pieces under pressure                                    Stands up well under pressure

Scoring: A bipolar scale is used. Each item receives a score of 0 to 4.