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Generational Differences in Gender Attitudes Between Parents and Grown Offspring


This study examined generational differences in gender attitudes between parents and grown offspring, including the extent to which these differences vary in families with daughters vs families with sons and in African American vs European American families. Participants included 158 African American and European American men and women (aged 22 to 49 years), their mothers, and their fathers (N = 474) recruited predominantly through purchased telephone lists. Participants completed a self-report measure of gender attitudes toward marital and childrearing roles. Mixed method ANOVAs revealed offspring were less traditional than parents, although there were greater generational differences in attitudes between mothers and daughters and in European American families. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for family roles and relationships.

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This study was supported by grant R01 AG17916 from the National Institute of Aging, “Problems Between Parents and Offspring in Adulthood,” Karen L. Fingerman, principal investigator. The first author was also supported by grant 5 T32 MH018904, from the National Institute of Mental Health, “Research Training in Mental Health and Aging.” We appreciate the efforts of Ellin Spector, Carolyn Rahe, and Ann Shinefield who managed the field study and data collection through the Institute for Survey Research at Temple University. We are grateful to Miriam Moss and Sheryl Potashnik for assistance with recruitment. Elizabeth Hay, Graciela Espinosa-Hernandez, and Shelley Hosterman provided invaluable assistance on all aspects of this project. Michael Rovine and Eric Loken provided support for the statistical models.

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Correspondence to Kelly E. Cichy.

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Cichy, K.E., Lefkowitz, E.S. & Fingerman, K.L. Generational Differences in Gender Attitudes Between Parents and Grown Offspring. Sex Roles 57, 825–836 (2007).

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  • Gender attitudes
  • Family
  • Generational differences
  • Gender
  • Ethnic differences