Loosening the GRIP (Gender Roles Inhibiting Prosociality) to Promote Gender Equality

Alyssa Croft, Ciara Atkinson, Gillian Sandstrom, Sheina Orbell, Lara Aknin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Prosociality is an ideal context to begin shifting traditional gender role stereotypes and promoting equality. Men and women both help others frequently, but assistance often follows traditional gender role expectations, which further reinforces restrictive gender stereotypes in other domains. We propose an integrative process model of gender roles inhibiting prosociality (GRIP) to explain why and how this occurs. We argue that prosociality provides a unique entry point for change because it is (a) immediately rewarding (which cultivates positive attitude formation), (b) less likely to threaten the gender status hierarchy, and therefore less susceptible to social backlash (which translates into less restrictive social norms), and (c) a skill that can be learned (which leads to stronger beliefs in one’s own ability to help). Using the GRIP model, we derive a series of hypothesized interventions to interrupt the self-reinforcing cycle of gender role stereotyping and facilitate progress toward broader gender equality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-92
Number of pages27
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • gender equality
  • gender roles
  • gender stereotypes
  • helping
  • prosocial behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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