Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Geoffrey Grant


Television has become an important agent of socialization in society today. Social interaction on prime-time television was examined 24 years ago by members of the Sociology Department at South Dakota State University. That study was similar to this research project that investigates gender roles on prime-time television. The earlier study used a modified version of the Bales Interaction Scale to code male and female behavior to assess the extent to which prime-time television presented traditional or nontraditional gender roles. This study used research methods similar to those of the previous study to see if traditional gender roles depicted on prime-time television are still prevalent or if there has been a change. Feminist theory, an interactionist theoretical perspective, and Parsons and Bales (1955) perspective served as frameworks to assess the portrayal of gender roles on prime-time television. Included in this research project were 2,968 scenes, 24,994 interactions of male and female characters in the scenes were coded. In keeping with Bales Interaction Process Analysis (1950), the study examined task-oriented behaviors and socio-emotional behaviors of men and women. The data revealed that there are more male characters than female characters depicted in scenes on prime-time television programming. Males were found to display more task-oriented behaviors than socioemotional behaviors than females. There was a significant difference in the proportion of socio-emotional behaviors exhibited by women compared to men. In conclusion, men and women as portrayed on TV continued to be shown predominantly in traditional gender roles as in the study 24 years ago.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Women on television
Sex role on television


Includes bibliographical references (pages 71-78)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2007 Jan C. Kircher