Sex Roles

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 643–661 | Cite as

Attitude toward motherhood: Gender, generational, and religious comparisons

  • Rachel T. Hare-Mustin
  • Sheila Kishler Bennett
  • Patricia C. Broderick
Article

Abstract

Attitudes toward mothering and motherhood are examined within a sample representative of college-educated young adults and their mothers. Factor structures are compared based upon response to the 40-item Motherhood Inventory. Two factors are indicated for males: a “chauvinism” factor describing women as appropriately serving and providing for men and children, and a factor that represents acceptance of contraceptive choice for women. For younger women, the theme of reproductive freedom includes autonomy in choice of motherhood as well as personal fulfillment; a second factor describes traditional rewards and responsibilities of motherhood. For older women, a single dominant factor represents a highly conventionalized definition of women's familial roles. On a scale of acceptance of reproductive freedom (the single common dimension observed for all groups), men score lower than women and Catholics score lower than non-Catholics.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abramowitz, C. V. Blaming the mother: An experimental investigation of sex-role bias in countertransference. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1977, 2, 24–34.Google Scholar
  2. Astin, H. S., El-Khawas, E., & Leland, C. Men and women learning together: Coeducation in the 1980's. Unpublished highlights of findings, Brown Coeducation Study, 1978.Google Scholar
  3. Bardis, P. D. Abortion and public opinion: A research note. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1972, 34, 111–116.Google Scholar
  4. Bayer, A. E. Sexist students in American colleges: A descriptive note. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1975, 37, 391–399.Google Scholar
  5. Bernard, J. The future of motherhood. New York: Dial Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  6. Blake, J. The Americanization of Catholic reproductive ideals. Population Studies, 1966, 20, 27–43.Google Scholar
  7. Blanchard, C. G., Becker, J. V., & Bristow, A. P. Attitudes of Southern women: Selected group comparisons. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1976, 1, 160–171.Google Scholar
  8. Blumenthal, S. L. The retreat from motherhood. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1975.Google Scholar
  9. Chodorow, N. The reproduction of mothering: Psychoanalysis and the sociology of gender. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  10. Clayton, R. R., & Tolone, W. L. Religiousity and attitudes toward induced abortion: An elaboration of a relationship. Sociological Analysis, 1973, 34, 26–39.Google Scholar
  11. Fabe, M., & Wikler, N. Up against the clock: Career women speak on the choice to have children. New York: Random House, 1979.Google Scholar
  12. Fraiberg, S. Every child's birthright: In defense of mothering. New York: Basic Books, 1977.Google Scholar
  13. Grossman, F. K., Eichler, L. S., & Winickoff, S. A. Pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1980.Google Scholar
  14. Hare-Mustin, R. T. A feminist approach to family therapy. Family Process, 1978, 17, 181–194.Google Scholar
  15. Hare-Mustin, R. T., & Broderick, P. C. The myth of motherhood. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1976, 4, 114–128.Google Scholar
  16. Heimer, D. D. Abortion attitudes among Catholic university students: A comparative research note. Sociological Analysis, 1976, 3, 255–260.Google Scholar
  17. Jones, G. W., & Northman, D. Roman Catholic fertility and family planning: A comparative review of the research literature. Studies in Family Planning, 1968, 34, 1–27.Google Scholar
  18. Jones, E. F., & Westoff, C. F. Attitudes toward abortion in the United States in 1970 and the trend since 1965. In C. F. Westoff & R. Parke, Jr. (Eds.), Demographic and social aspects of population growth. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, 1972.Google Scholar
  19. Justices back rape law penalizing only the male. The New York Times, March 24, 1981, p. B10.Google Scholar
  20. Kagan, J. Family experience and the child's development. American Psychologist, 1979, 34, 886–891.Google Scholar
  21. Levinson, D. J. The seasons of a man's life. New York: Knopf, 1978.Google Scholar
  22. Lott, B. E. Who wants the children? Some relationships among attitudes toward children, parents, and the liberation of women. American Psychologist, 1973, 28, 573–582.Google Scholar
  23. Mason, K., Czajke, J., & Arber, S. Change in U.S. women's sex-role attitudes, 1964–1974. American Sociological Review, 1976, 41, 573–596.Google Scholar
  24. McBride, A. B. The growth and development of mothers. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.Google Scholar
  25. Minturn, L., & Lambert, W. W. Mothers of six cultures: Antecedents of child rearing. New York: Wiley, 1974.Google Scholar
  26. Neugarten, B. L. (Ed.). Middle age and aging: A reader in social psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  27. Osmond, M. W., & Martin, P. Y. Sex and sexism: A comparison of male and female sex-role attitudes. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1975, 37, 744–759.Google Scholar
  28. Parelius, A. P. Emerging sex-role attitudes, expectations, and strains among college women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1975, 37, 146–154.Google Scholar
  29. Potkin, R. H., & Westoff, C. F. Higher education and the family normative beliefs of Catholic women. Sociological Analysis, 1967, 28, 14–21.Google Scholar
  30. Rich, A. Of woman born. New York: Norton, 1976.Google Scholar
  31. Rossi, A. S. Life-span theories and women's lives. Signs, 1980, 6, 4–32.Google Scholar
  32. Russo, N. F. The motherhood mandate. Journal of Social Issues, 1976, 32, 143–153.Google Scholar
  33. Scanzoni, J. Sex role change and influences on birth intentions. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1976, 38, 43–60.Google Scholar
  34. Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. The Attitudes toward Women Scale: An objective instrument to measure attitudes toward the rights and roles of women in contemporary society. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 1972, 2, 66.Google Scholar
  35. Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. Masculinity and feminity: Their psychological dimensions, correlates, and antecedents. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  36. Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. A short version of the Attitudes toward Women Scale (AWS). Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 1973, 2, 219–220.Google Scholar
  37. Westoff, C. F., & Ryder, N. B. The contraceptive revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  38. Westoff, C. F., Moore, E. G., & Ryder, N. B. The structure of attitudes toward abortion. Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 1969, 47, 11–38.Google Scholar
  39. Wicks, J. W., & Workman, R. L. Sex-role attitudes and the anticipated timing of the initial stage of family formation among Catholic university students. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1978, 40, 505–518.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel T. Hare-Mustin
    • 1
  • Sheila Kishler Bennett
    • 2
  • Patricia C. Broderick
    • 3
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Bryn Mawr CollegeUSA
  3. 3.Villanova UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations