Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Kate Poelker, Psychology

Document Type


Event Date



Guatemala is known for its beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and vibrant traditional textiles. Despite the country’s many treasures, Guatemalans face many challenges including gender inequality and wealth disparity. Issues pertaining to youth are of particular importance, as approximately 56% of the population is under 25 years old (Central Intelligence Agency, 2018). Gender inequality in Guatemala may be perpetuated by traditional values of machismo and marianismo (Gibbons & Luna, 2015). Machismo refers to the expectation that men be dominant, respected, and strong providers for their family (Arciniega, Anderson, Tover-Blank, & Travey, 2008). Conversely, marianismo is the expectation that women be pure and gentle, like the Virgin Mary (Castillo, Perez, Castillo, & Ghosheh, 2010; Stevens, 1973). The Gender Intensification Hypothesis suggests gender roles become more rigid during adolescence, as young people prepare for adulthood (Hill & Lynch, 1983). Previous studies on Guatemalan adolescents’ views on the ideal man and ideal woman have revealed a series of gender differences as well. Although machismo and marianismo still characterize society’s views on gender for many Guatemalans, there is evidence that some young people’s views on gender might be changing due to globalization and adaptation of more individualistic attitudes (Ashdown & Gibbons, 2012; Flores et al., 2016). The purpose of the current study was to evaluate age and gender differences among 297 Guatemalan adolescents on the following measures: Attitudes About Women Scale-Adolescent version (Galambos, Petersen, Richards, & Gitelson, 1985), the Ideal Man and Ideal Woman questionnaire (Gibbons & Stiles, 2004), the Revised Body Image Esteem Scale (Mendelson & White, 1993/1994), and the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (Liebenberg, Ungar, & LeBlanc, 2013). Findings from this study will contribute to culturally-sensitive efforts to empower Guatemalan youth and educate adolescents about gender equality. By shifting gender ideologies of youth in the region, macro-level improvements through policy change and overarching attitudes towards women are possible.