Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

JoNell Strough


The current study examined how age and sex of participants, gender stereotype roles for the protagonist, and domain of the problem influenced the generation of problem-solving goals and strategies. One hundred and seventeen participants, 136 younger adults (M= 19 .22, SD = 1.30:58 M, 78 F) and 81 older adults (M= 73.17, SD = 7.76:38 M, 43 F) were given two hypothetical vignettes, one in the work domain, and one in the caregiving domain. Responses were coded for other-focused goals and interpersonally-oriented strategies. A 2 (age) x 2 (sex) x 2 (form type) x 2 (domain) MANOVA indicated two significant three-way interactions for interpersonally-oriented strategies: domain by strategy by sex and strategy by age by sex. Results indicated that the reporting of discussion strategies varied by domain, Wilks' Lambda = .806, F(1,212) = 51.10, p<.001, and for the work domain, men were more likely to report seeking support strategies than women, F(1,212) = 9.21, p<.003,eta2 = .04. When collapsed across domain, the only significant result indicated that older men were more likely to report discussion strategies than younger men, t(92) = -3.59, p<.001. Finally, only domain differences emerged for other focused goals, Wilks' Lambda = .941, F(1,202) = 12.75, p<.001.Results indicate some age and sex differences in strategies, primarily by domain, however other-focused goals did not serve as a mediator of these differences. Implications for understanding the problem solving research methodology (i.e., self-generated problems vs. fixed problems) are discussed.