Life in the Balance: Are Women’s Possible Selves Constrained by Men’s Domestic Involvement?

Alyssa Croft, Toni Schmader, Katharina Block

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Do young women’s expectations about potential romantic partners’ likelihood of adopting caregiving roles in the future contribute to whether they imagine themselves in nontraditional future roles? Meta-analyzed effect sizes of five experiments (total N = 645) supported this complementarity hypothesis. Women who were primed with family-focused (vs. career-focused) male exemplars (Preliminary Study) or information that men are rapidly (vs. slowly) assuming greater caregiving responsibilities (Studies 1-4) were more likely to envision becoming the primary economic provider and less likely to envision becoming the primary caregiver of their future families. A meta-analysis across studies revealed that gender role complementarity has a small-to-medium effect on both women’s abstract expectations of becoming the primary economic provider (d =.27) and the primary caregiver (d = −.26). These patterns suggest that women’s stereotypes about men’s stagnant or changing gender roles might subtly constrain women’s own expected work and family roles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-823
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Keywords

  • gender roles
  • possible selves
  • romantic relationships
  • stereotypes
  • work–life balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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