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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we describe theory and research that highlights connections between the social contexts of women’s lives and women’s intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning. Specifically, in the first section of the chapter, we discuss how women’s social contexts are shaped by gender and its intersections with other social categories and by sexism expressed as prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Next, we discuss women’s mental health, with attention to the interplay of gender with psychological disorders and the role of sexist discrimination in women’s mental health. In the third section, we focus on women’s relationships, starting with the socializing relationships of childhood, turning to intimate relationships in adulthood, and then discussing the role of power in women’s relationships. Finally, we review research on women’s identities, focusing on feminist, lesbian, and womanist identity models. We conclude this chapter with a call to counseling psychologists to adopt the feminist understanding that women’s well-being depends on both their personal and their sociopolitical empowerment.

Keywords: women, gender, sexism, feminist psychology, psychology of women, sexist discrimination, women’s mental health, women’s identity, women’s relationships

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