Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 9–10, pp 615–622 | Cite as

What’s in a Purse? Maybe a Woman’s Reputation

  • Arthur Frankel
  • Debra A. Curtis
Original Article


Does a woman’s reputation suffer when others discover condoms in her possession? Fifty-two male and female predominantly white undergraduates from a small, private, Catholic university in the northeast USA examined the contents of a purse to formulate an impression of its owner. Unflattering inferences were drawn about the character of the target when her purse contained condoms. A follow-up study with 55 comparable participants confirmed that these inferences were indeed uncomplimentary. The results are discussed in terms of the multi-dimensional price women pay when assuming responsibility for their sexual health.


Impression formation Gender roles Sexual reputation Condoms Women’s health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologySalve Regina UniversityNewportUSA
  2. 2.AnthropologySalve Regina UniversityNewportUSA

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