Better off Alone? Ambivalent Sexism Moderates the Association Between Relationship Status and Life Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Women and Men
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Although being in a romantic relationship confers numerous benefits to well-being, research has yet to examine the possibility that ambivalent sexism moderates this association. Because benevolent sexism enforces the view that people are incomplete without a romantic partner, we hypothesised that benevolent sexism would enhance the well-being benefits associated with being in a serious relationship. Conversely, hostile sexism views women with suspicion and should therefore attenuate the benefits one derives from being in a serious relationship. We tested these hypotheses using a national sample of heterosexual women (n = 7980) and men (n = 4968) from New Zealand. As hypothesised, the benefits of being in a serious romantic relationship on life satisfaction were accentuated for those higher (versus lower) on benevolent sexism, but attenuated for those higher (versus lower) on hostile sexism. These data are the first known to show that ambivalent sexism moderates the positive effects of relationship status on well-being, thereby demonstrating the utility of integrating ambivalent sexism theory with the relationship literature for heterosexual women and men.
KeywordsAmbivalent sexism Relationships Life satisfaction Well-being Benevolent sexism Hostile sexism
This manuscript is based on Nina Waddell’s research thesis supervised by Danny Osborne. Preparation of this manuscript was supported by a University of Auckland FRDF grant (3709123) awarded to the third author, as well as PBRF grants jointly awarded to the second and third authors.
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The NZAVS is reviewed every three years by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee. Our most recent ethics approval statement is as follows: The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study was approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 03-June-2015 until 03-June-2018. Reference Number: 014889. Our previous ethics approval statement for the 2009–2015 period is: The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study was approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 09-September-2009 until 09-September-2012, and renewed on 17-February-2012 until 09-September-2015. Reference Number: 6171.
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