Socialized to Safety? The Origins of Gender Difference in Personal Security Dispositions

Richard C. Eichenberg, Mary Kate Lizotte, Richard J. Stoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


What factors influence an individual's concern for personal security and safety? Prior research shows that women exhibit higher levels of fear, anxiety, and perceived threat. These differences in threat perceptions have important policy consequences, including the fact that women display lower support for military interventions, lower support for retaliation against terrorist groups, and lower levels of support for using torture. However, previous research has not fully investigated the origins of these differences in concern for safety and security, which we refer to as “personal security dispositions.” We ask if these differences are the result of lived experience, socialization, or both. Specifically, our analysis explores the extent to which personal security dispositions can be traced to parental warnings about safety and avoiding danger. Our findings indicate that both gender identity and parental socialization have an impact on security dispositions. We conclude the article with a discussion of avenues for further research and the policy implications of our findings, in particular with respect to public opinion on issues such as support for the international use of military force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-235
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • fear
  • gender
  • parental warnings
  • socialization
  • threat perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science and International Relations


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