Faculty Directory

Campbell Leaper
  • Title
    • Professor, Department Chair
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Psychology Department
  • Affiliations Feminist Studies Department, College Nine, College Ten
  • Phone
    831-459-5084 (message), 831-459-1436 (chair's office), 831-459-4496
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location Social Sciences 2, Room 258 (chair's office); Social Sciences 2, Room 355
  • Office Hours By appointment (Winter 2018)
  • Mail Stop Psychology Faculty Services
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Sexism and Gender Bias, Child and Adolescent Development, Psychology, Discrimination and Inequality, Schools and Academic Achievement, Peer Groups and Friendships, Social Psychology, Television, Sociolinguistics
  • Courses Taught Psych 100: Research Methods in Psychology, Psych 106: Social and Emotional Development, Psych 107: Gender and Development, Psych 140Q: Social Psychology of Sex and Gender, Psych 244B: Proseminar 2: Social and Personality Development, Psych 254: Psychology of Gender

Research Interests

Campbell Leaper is a developmental and social psychologist investigating the origins and consequences of gender inequities across the lifespan. His social-psychological approach emphasizes the interactions between the person, the social situation, and society. In addition, his developmental perspective considers the childhood origins and long-term consequences of gender typing. Some of his research topics include the following: social construction and socialization of gender in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; self-concept and social identity; language and social interaction; social relationships, gender bias in the schools and academic achievement; images of gender in the media; perceptions and consequences of sexism.

Professor Leaper's research studies have examined how gender is constructed through social-interactions in families, peer groups, schools, the media, and close relationships. Within these contexts, girls and boys are often provided different opportunities to practice particular social and cognitive skills. Gender differences in experience, in turn, are viewed as contributing to the development of different expectations, social identities, preferences, and abilities.

In recent studies, Professor Leaper has investigated developmental and social factors related to adolescents' and adults' experiences with sexism and their endorsement of feminist beliefs. One goal of this research is to examine when and why girls and young women become aware of sexism. Another aim is to study if and how sexism may contribute to academic interests and achievement—particularly for girls in science, math, and technology, which are occupational areas where women remain significantly underrepresented.

Professor Leaper also considers ways that traditional notions of masculinity may limit boys' and young men's development. For example, one ongoing study (with graduate student Timea Farkas) is examining masculinity, sexist attitudes, and attachment style in relation to young men's and women's' dating relationships.

Another topic of research is gender identity--that is, how do people think about their own gender? In an ongoing study (with graduate student Toni Wilson), the intersection of gender identity and ethnic-racial identity are being examined in relation to self-esteem and experiences with discrimination. In an earlier study, he examined some ways that feminist self-identification may be an asset when coping with sexist discrimination.

Although most of Professor Leaper's research in recent year have focused on studies of adolescents and young adults, he has conducted studies of gender development during early childhood. He is interested in continuing work with younger children, adolescents, and adults.

Finally, Professor Leaper maintains an ongoing interest in synthesizing our knowledge about gender. He is the author of several review chapters and meta-analyses on the psychology of gender.

Some of Professor Leaper's former graduate advisees include Kristin Anderson (University of Houston-Downtown), Harriet Tenenbaum (University of Surrey), Elizabeth Daniels (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs), Melanie Ayres (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), and Rachael Robnett (University of Nevada-Las Vegas). See his personal web page for a complete listing of his former students.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., Boston University

Selected Publications

  • Farkas, T., & Leaper C. (2016). Chivalry’s double-edged sword: How girls’ and boys’ paternalistic attitudes relate to their possible family and work selves. Sex Roles, 74, 220-230. 
  • Wilson, A., & Leaper, C. (2016). Bridging multidimensional of ethnic-racial and gender identity among ethnically diverse emerging adults. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 45, 1614-1637.
  • Bigler, R. S., & Leaper, C. (2015). Gendered language: Psychological principles, Evolving practices, and inclusive policies. Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 2, 187-194. 
  • Leaper, C. (2015). Do I belong? Gender, peer groups, and STEM achievement. International Journal of Gender, Science, and Technology, 7, 166-179. 
  • Leaper, C. (2015). Gender and social-cognitive development. In R. M. Lerner (Series Ed.), L. S. Liben & U. Muller (Vol. Eds.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science (7th ed.), Vol. 2: Cognitive processes (pp. 806-853). New York: Wiley. 
  • Leaper, C., & Brown, C. S. (2015). Sexism in schools. In L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Eds.), Advances in child development and behavior (pp. 189-223). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.
  • Leaper, C. (2014). Gender similarities and differences in language. In T. Holtgraves (Ed.), Oxford handbook of language and social psychology (pp. 62-81). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Robnett, R. D., & Leaper, C. (2013). Friendship groups, personal motivation, and gender in relation to high school students’ STEM career interest. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23, 652-664.
  • Leaper, C., Brown, C. S., & Ayres, M. M. (2013). Adolescent girls' cognitive appraisals of coping responses to sexual harassment. Psychology In the Schools, 50, 969-986.
  • Robnett, R. D., & Leaper, C. (2013). “Girls don’t propose! Ew.”: A mixed-methods examination of college marriage tradition preferences and benevolent sexism in emerging adults. Journal of Adolescent Research, 28, 96-121.
  • Leaper, C., Farkas, T., and Brown, C. S. (2012). Adolescent girls' experiences and gender-related beliefs in relation to their motivation in math/science and English. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 41, 268-282
  • Leaper, C. (2011). More similarities than differences in contemporary theories of social development? A plea for theory bridging. In J. B. Benson (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior (Vol., 40, pp. 337-378). Burlington: Elsevier.
  • Leaper, C., and Arias, D. M. (2011). College women’s feminist identity: A multidimensional analysis with implications for coping with sexism. Sex Roles, 64, 475-490.
  • Leaper, C., and Bigler, R. S. (2011). Gender as a context for social development. In M. Underwood and L. H. Rosen (Eds.), Social development (pp. 289-315). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Leaper, C., and Robnett, R. D. (2011). Women are more likely than men to use tentative language; aren’t they?: A meta-analysis testing for gender differences and moderators. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 35, 129-142.
  • Brown, C.S., & Leaper, C. (2010). Latina and European American girls' experiences with academic sexism and their self-concepts in mathematics and science during adolescence. Sex Roles, 63, 860-870.