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Life in the balance: Are women’s possible selves constrained by men’s domestic involvement?

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Croft, Alyssa, Schmader, Toni & Block, Katharina
Publication Date: 
4 Oct 2018


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.

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

Entered Date: 
11 Dec 2018
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