2013. Vol.4, No.11, 897-901
Published Online November 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/psych) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2013.411129
Open Access 897
Detection of Behavior Patterns in Single Women in Mexico
Edgardo Ruiz1, Argelia Avila2
1Division of Research and Graduate, Iztacala Faculty of Higher Education,
National University Autonomous of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
2PhD Student in Social Psychology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM),
Ciudad de México, México
Received June 16th, 2013; revised July 23rd, 2013; accepted August 21st, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Edgardo Ruiz, Argelia Avila. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.
The proposal of this work is to detect the existence of patterns of interactive sequential discursive behav-
ior in three single Mexican adult women from retrospective analysis of the interview between them and
the interviewer. The applied methodology was observational. It was developed iteratively and thoroughly,
a category system as an instrument of observation, and then it was undergone a recategorization process.
The number of sessions observed was three, of three hours a duration. Intersessional sequential analysis
was used through the SDIS-GSEQ software. Thus we find that the first significant categories in order of
occurrence are: Being for her self, Paradox and Independence. The following in significant probability of
occurrence position are: Dependency, self-satisfaction, Complementary, Comprehension and Normal. Fi-
nally, the categories that are inhibitory occurrence probabilistically negative are: Responsible, Myself,
Self-understanding. Finding out these women are learning to live for themselves within a process of
emancipation from their families and social structures.
Keywords: Identity; Singleness; Women; Gender; Syncretism
In a culture that is characterized by rapid and contradictory
changes, women still somehow is qualified to take over the lives
of others “being human for others” through a socialization pro-
cess that guides men and women in the acquisition of skills, be-
haviors, and values suitable for getting into social life.
Walter, Carter, Papp, and Silverstein (1998) identify as valid
some of the features of traditional femininity: put at the service
of others, deny autonomy, develop capacity of devotion, delay
and give up the desires and personal projects, as well as overes-
timate a partner and family, which leads to the construction of
mother-wife configurations, referred to act as mother of the
sisters, brothers, parents, friends, etc. Throughout this process,
women are ascribed to the power of the affections, which build
servile affiliation (Miller, 1991) not for them, but on discover-
ing and meeting the needs of others.
To Lagarde (2001) the above was established as the main
stay of the sense identity for most of the women, a pillar that
was built under the ideology of romantic love (Tavora & Es-
teban, 2008) and both, its conceptualization, education and lov-
ing experience that woman have, promotes the intrinsic part of
the social subordination of them. A perpetuation mechanisms
carried out by women is acting and playing a set of values and
attitudes, as servile affiliation, namely the practices to identify
and meet the needs of others in order to feel assured love, even
if it means delaying or waiving of desires and personal projects.
Lagarde (1990) provides an underlying explanation of why
women’s subjectivity is permeated by these beliefs by pointing
that the general condition of women is structured around two
main axes: the split sexuality of women and the definition of
these in relation to power and with the others; their condition is
oppressive by vital dependence, subjection, subalternity, also
by definition of devoid human beings, capable of waiver, whose
basic attitude is to be able to consummate any devotion to oth-
ers, and unable to become independent of it. The author called
learned helplessness to the difficulties of women to establish
themselves as subject.
Under these parameters, it is clear that these roles printed in
both men and women, limits their personal growth and con-
struct contradictroy and exclusionary subjectivities. These ide-
ologies are transmitted each time through our dialogues and
daily practices. And though it is said that the ranges have ex-
panded, that gender roles and their functions are more flexible
and it has been producing changes in the notion of masculine
and feminine, the change seems to be occurring very slowly.
Among these changes, the conception has played an impor-
tant role: some women express their sexual needs, and do not
often feel guilty or be worried about not establishing an affec-
tive commitment, and they have taken a different approach to
pleasure sexuality, separating the binomial sexuality-marriage
integrating modern and traditional elements that are known as
Syncretic Construc t io n
It is a complex condition, composed not only by patriarchal
gender status, but also with modern aspects in our gender con-
dition. The loving and affective relationships that thrive in a
world disrupted by the technologies of information and com-
E. RUIZ, A. AVILA
munication with a utilitarian principle (Bauman, 2005), are per-
meated by the priority that women and men give to the up-
dating and labor challenges. Scenarios already tested by women
facilitate important degrees of individuality. To Lagarde (2005)
autonomy offered many times by the income earned from work,
implies taking ownership from themselves, to the extent that
integrates work as a positive quality of identity, many women
are learning to enjoy the material and symbolic goods produced.
In the women work place we consider a number of dimen-
sions; an economic function, which is involved in the construc-
tion of social status and prestige. But its relational character is
also a field of differentiation of the sexes, as well as exercise
and reproduction of power relations, inequality and control (To-
daro & Yañez, 2004).
As for the experience, for Esteinou (2008) the fact that wo-
men have a job has become so important that no longer has the
same weight as marriage and family do, plus they are evaluat-
ing their life partner on the basis of individual, affective and
emotional satisfactions than interdependence gives. Lipovets-
ky (2009) adds, women today opens to love only if this does
not jeopardize their personal development, now the girls are
more interested in getting their professional development or
work, travel, and be able to lead their lives without social pa-
With all this, the incorporation and increasing development
of girls and women into the workplace are happenings involved
in new meanings, in the form of conduct, in the development of
career paths and negotiations they do with others (family, cou-
ple and friends) about their income, leisure, development ac-
tivities, goals, etc… This may be done as young, unmarried wo-
men, but when they want something more permanent, like start-
ing couple life, many choose to marry for companionship and
others for economic and social security. In this picture, there
are important trends in contemporary women that rebel and op-
pose to schemes of love for ever.
To Lagarde (2001) women loving subjectivity still populated
by myths, beliefs, fantasies, idealizations, through which they
experience relationships and amorous affairs. Despite their mo-
dern education they are involved in traditional and romantic
ideologies, also simultaneously many women experience a col-
lapse of their strengths against love. They live as an act of faith,
live frustrating relationships, deficit and inequality loved by a
partner, trio, or any other figure erotic-loving.
Lagarde (1996) stresses the discursive and normative inten-
tionality, however legislation has not yet been translated into
practice, which seeks to restructure that be for others to be for
me, but this transition is marked by a series of contradictions.
This be for me means being on par with the others, take care
functions to others and oneself, make use of goods, labor, skills
Particularly increasing numbers of single women separate
love, sexuality and procreation. And it appears in their biogra-
phy significant long periods without a partner, without dating
or without formalizing a commitment but this has not always
been this way.
Another contribution of feminism that its return in this ana-
lysis of the situation of being single at a certain age, is the
questioning that people materialize their sense of life, to live in
line with the activities, relationships, needs, expectations, op-
portunities, duties and prohibitions of each stage of life. Al-
farache (2003) elaborated the category cultural life cycle that
provides an analytical view of how women make not only bio-
logical but cultural cycle that sits on the sexuality “the body
and being for others”, according to this cultural life cycle is
expected that the union with your life partner is about to be
specified in women and men youth. So, to be in a position of
being single at a certain age is considered by a society state
outside the norm.
Single People and Their Tensions
The genres are under severe pressure from the social context
that guides them towards a pair bond, assuming the structure
and dynamics of traditional marriage.
By adding the reference “I am single” to “I am”, “be for my
self”, the identity is unbalanced, in part because the woman was
formed on the belief that marriage and motherhood meet their
most important needs, and they represent the normal way to
define and assess their identity and femininity, and on the other
hand, because it has the traditional contempt for unmarried,
who is presented as an outcast woman and pitiable because the
destination has vetoed the possibility to fulfill their feminine
Specifically, that “this is me” on the single woman, is medi-
ated by not being considered a full adult. The single women
moves in a indefinite identity that fleet between the daughter of
family and be a kind of couple without settling on any option,
one consequence of this is the restriction of their freedom to
choose and define their life conditions.
However, the gender status of contemporary women consists
of the mixture of the patriarchal order and modern aspects of
their gender condition (Lagarde, 2005).
Within this modern order, the identity of the self becomes a
task which is expressed as the construction of a reflexive pro-
ject of the self, that is, maintaining a consistent biographical
chronicle. In fact, in modern life the notion of lifestyle takes on
particular importance as the tradition loses its capacity to be
convener and individuals should adopt lifestyles among a vari-
ety of options which aspire to protagonize life approach. At the
everyday level, women are holding a transformation of inti-
macy where the main thing seems to be the emergence of the
“pure relationship” as a social bond where disappear the exter-
nal criteria to the point that the relationship exists only for the
rewards that itself can provide (Giddens, 1995: p. 11).
The gender perspective has been used to illustrate how lin-
guistic categories determine what we know about the world and,
according to Martinez and Bonilla (2000), this perspective of-
fers a critique of the social conditions that hinder communica-
tion and liberation of women, looking for equal value as in
women as in men. In this regard, as noted Villarreal (2008)
study singleness necessarily require analyzing the assumed atti-
tude of men and women with respect to themselves and their
living situation, this proposal was retaken in this work to define
ways for discursive interaction of single women in relation to
To detect discursive interaction patterns on three single wo-
men by being interviewed through the SDIS-GSEQ software.
Mexican women are in a process of transition from being for
E. RUIZ, A. AVILA
themselves and not for others.
The research was qualitative descriptive. It was established
contact through acquaintances that were single. Are single wo-
men who decide form other hood but not living as a couple,
women and men who were married and then no longer want to
be again, people who have lived together and have no children
so it’s in accurate definition, to this are added other conditions
as its geography, religion, language, education, economic status,
among others. It was looked at the ethical aspects of research
(information, confidentiality and anonymity). The research was
attended by three adult women, 34 - 38 years old, professionals,
living outside and in the family home. Women were considered
to belong to the middle class city in the metropolitan area of
Mexico City, since research shows that in this area is expressed
more clearly the impact of cultural changes of the last decades.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted.
The study group was formed by three unmarried Mexican
adult. The selection of participants was consistent regarding the
admission criteria. As a recording instrument, and in order to
ensure maximum accuracy in data collection, there were used
two film cameras and two microphones. Both cameras, along
with the two microphones were installed in the interview room,
where the participants and the interviewer met. In accordance
with the ethical standards approved by the American Psycho-
logical Association, the participants knew they were about to be
filmed and showed where the cameras were, which were posi-
tioned discreetly over the furniture and room layout, in order to
minimize bias in participants reactivity.
The observation instrument, such as is required by the stan-
dards of observational methodology, was developed as a system
of categories. The construction of the instrument, in order to fit
the requirements of completeness and mutually exclusive (E/
ME), initially involved transcribed the entire utterances/voice
of participants, which was completed with comments extracted
from recordings. Then it began a long process of categorization
on verbal dimension that would give rise to a great number of
versions of the instrument which was adjusted progressively
towards achieving consistency between the name and content of
each category and the conditions E/ME (Arias iPujol, 2003).
The result is an instrument in which is articulated a system of 8
categories, and ad sub verbal system of 19. All the categories
were defined distinguishing the categorical core and the level of
openness or plasticity and for each on it was extracted examples
and counter examples of recordings made.
Once developed the observation instrument, it was submitted
under a recategorization process, carrying out a regrouping of
categories (verbal) that combined a field format with eight di-
mensions, with eight sets of categories, being the following:
Loneliness = (worry, PREOC , Self-Determination AUTDE and
occupation, OCUP) Work = (For others, PAOT, Both AMB
and myself MI), Family = Independence, IND Standards, NO,
Dependency, DE) Sexuality = (Self satisfaction, AUTS, shared,
COM, Hetero satisfaction HET), free time = (Self-realization,
AUT, Obligation, OBLI, Hetero realization, HETER) Friends =
(Hetero comprehension, HETCO, Both AMAM, self-under-
standing, AUTCO) Singleness = Way to be individual, FORSEI,
self-designation, AUTDE, way being for others, FORSEO)
Couple = (Paradox, PAR, responsible, RES, Complementary,
COM) Loving trajectory = (Comprehensive, COMP, Both,
AMB, uncomprehending INCOM)
Sequence analysis emerges as one of the most suitable tech-
niques for analyzing data obtained in the study of human inter-
action. This is a form of microanalysis. It was developed by Sa-
ckett (1979, 1987) from the influence of the background in the
work of Bakeman and Brown (1977).
GSEQ-SDIS software (Bakeman & Quera, 1992, 1995), as
its acronym suggests, brings together two informatic develop-
ments. First, the SDIS allows obtaining from a standardized and
overall format a sequential data, and secondly, the GSEQ al-
lows powerful description and analysis of sequence data.
The SDIS-GSEQ relies on an analytical technique that was
developed by Bakeman (Bakeman, 1978; Bakeman & Gottman,
1986) and Sackett (1980, 1987) from the records that are in the
works of Bakeman and Dabbs (1976). In turn there are two per-
spectives: prospective (looking the meaning “forward”, as it
occurs occurrence of conduct) and retrospective (in a sense
“backward”), which provides a spectacular image of the pattern
of behavior that allows to see the two sides of intensive dia-
chronic sequential design.
Since the aim of this work is to detect the existence of possi-
ble discursive sequential behavior patterns among unmarried
women interviewed, by analyzing their conversation. The suit-
able data analysis technique is inter-sesional sequential analysis.
This analytical technique proposed by Bakeman (1978) and
Sackett (1978, 1979) that is widely used in the scientific litera-
ture over the last quarter century, aims to detect the existence of
stable structures of behavior that have a probability of occurrence
greater than it can be expected if the effect of the random act.
Upon selecting lag sequential analysis, selecting excitatory
adjusted residuals (P > 1.96) and inhibitory (P < −1.96) at lags
R1 to R5 (see Table 1) we find how criterion behavior FOR-
SEI generates a constant association with FORSEI further al-
ternate with PAR, IND, AUTS in the delays 1, 2 and 3. Fol-
lowing the given behaviour PAR with a consistent association
with FORSEI alternating with IND, PAR and AUTS at lags 1, 3
and 4 continuing with the criterion behavior IND that is predic-
tive with FORSEI, COM and MI at lags 1 and 2, continuing
this predictive sequential relationship with PAR, AUTS, DE,
NOR and FORSEI in delays 3, 4, and 5 respectively, the fol-
lowing behaviour criterion was AUTS that generates FORSEI
and MI in delays 1, 4 and 5. The following given behaviour is
MI has significant probabilistic sequential relationship with
COM, MI and IND, MI, NOR, AUTS and in an inhibitory way
with COMP and RES at lags of 1 to 5. The penultimate crite-
rion behavior is AUTS in a predictive relationship with IND,
PAR and RES at lags 1, 4 and 5. Last criterion category COMP
is in significant sequential relationship with COM, COMP, DE,
HETCO and in an inhibitory way with COM at delays 1, 2 and 5.
Thus we find that the first categories in order of significant
occurrence are; Way to be individual, Paradox and Independ-
ence, the following in significant probability occurrence posi-
tion are Dependency, Self-satisfaction, Complementary Under-
standing and Normal. Finally, the categories of probabilistically
negative inhibitory occurrence are: Responsible, Myself and
Open Access 899
E. RUIZ, A. AVILA
This table is made from select excitatory adjusted residuals (P > 0.05)
and inhibitory (P < −0.05) at lags R1 to R5.
behavior 1 lag 2 lag 3 lag 4 lag 5 lag
AUTS FORSEI MI FORSEI
RES MI RES IND MI
AUTS IND PAR
(retrospective patterns obtained with 1 to 5 lags); [In black → excitatory adjusted
residuals]; [In red → inhibitory adjusted residuals].
Based on these results we found that single women are in
transition from being for herself and being for others, Lagarde
(2005) being evident this need while making predictive sequen-
tial discursive analysis of them. To Mijares (1990) the single
women should undertake a process of resocialization, it means,
the acquisition of new knowledge, attitudes and values that will
allow them to adapt to the lifestyle they want to adopt, in this
process of resocialization a woman must build a new vision of
herself and her environment; also her participation in the work-
place, her relationship with members of the opposite sex, her
sexual behavior and reproductive function; her domestic space
and all those spaces and relationships she required to grow,
strengthened and made herself as a human being. For this au-
thor INDEPENDENT single women are in the process of rede-
fining their identity, as they are on a path that breaks years of
Although single woman has not been free of tensions, Mija-
res (1990), in fact women had to take on their new status amid
personal ambivalences and conflicts in the social environment.
First, because her behavior is perceived by the environment as
destabilizing existing norms and values; and second because
her needs for autonomy and self-affirmation are incompatible
with the role that society assigns to women; third because it is a
style where there is no model to follow and where is needed to
inaugurate modalities with its successes and setbacks; fourth
and last because in this process of self-realization in which the
woman is in contradiction with her own social role, and has to
face the problem of being located in the world in a satisfactory
way, which means she has to rebuild her identity. Tena (2005)
believes that single women in adulthood may present conscious-
ly contradictions and conflicts, regardless of the explanations
she gives of her single status.
This study has some limitations that are worth noting. For one,
the comprehensiveness of content analysis and categorization
concrete is merely to complement the analysis with an analysis
of discourse. One might consider some other sources of in-
formation such as interviews with their parents or friends. Gue-
vara (2010) notes that relationships in your boyfriends status
presents glimpses of new discoursesaccordingto social, greate-
requity, but that does not mean they give in practice. Be in-
terested to generate knowledge of the experience of women and
men singleness single again, either because they cohabit and
separated with no children, being single women and men in
oldage, or monitor these players in 5 or 10 years and inquire
about the permanence or transformation of their meanings and
perceptions of its past (its present today) also pose as anarea of
future research singleness in women without professional edu-
cation and other contexts, self-concept in women single that has
been little studied.
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