, Volume 39, Issue 3-4, pp 215-223

Perceptions of Parents Whose Work and Parenting Behaviors Deviate from Role Expectations

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Perceptions of married parents were investigatedas a function of their gender, and the employment statusof both the parent and her or his spouse following theirchild's birth. College students (91 percent White, 9 percent African American, AsianAmerican and Hispanic) evaluated a briefly describedmarried employed parent on 31 7-point bipolar scalesthat described nurturance behaviors, job performancecharacteristics and stress/overload variables. Each evaluatorrated 1 of 8 parents portrayed as either a mother or afather who, following their infant's birth, eitherworked full-time or reduced her/his work hours, and whose spouse either worked full time or reducedhis/her work hours. Full-time employment, compared topart time employment, (1) enhanced perceptions of theprofessional competence of fathers, but not mothers; and (2)lowered evaluations of nurturance forboth parents, but especially for mothers. Mothers wereperceived as under more stress than fathers.