From the abstract:
It should be noted that none of the novels used in this research are quoted (though they are listed): as is obvious from the title of the journal, the authors take a sociological rather than a literary approach.
A random sample of the most popular "modern Gothic" novels was selected to analyze the sex-role characterizations of the heroine and the minor female actor. Viewing this construct on a continuum from "traditional" through "mixed" to "nontraditional," we can locate the heroines more toward the "nontraditional" segment and the minor females toward the "traditional." The heroines are not portrayed as submissive/dependent women and we suggest that this sex-role characterization is largely responsible for the tremendous popularity of these books among women readers of all ages.