Research indicates that the endorsement of sexist ideology is linked to higher subjective wellbeing for both men and women. We examine gender differences in the rationalisations which drive this effect in an egalitarian nation (New Zealand). Results from a nationally representative sample (N = 6,100) indicated that the endorsement of Benevolent Sexism (BS) predicted life satisfaction through different mechanisms for men and women. For men, BS was directly associated with life satisfaction. For women, the palliative effect of BS was indirect and occurred because BS-ideology positioning women as deserving of men’s adoration and protection was linked to general perceptions of gender relations as fair and equitable, which in turn predicted greater levels of life satisfaction.
KeywordsBenevolent Sexism Gender-specific system justification Life Satisfaction
- Altemeyer, B. (1981). Right-wing authoritarianism. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.Google Scholar
- Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2001b). Ambivalent sexism. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, (Vol. 33, pp. 115–188). Thousand Oaks: Academic. doi:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1241.
- Jackman, M. R. (1994). The velvet glove: Paternalism and conflict in gender, class, and race relations. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Jost, J. T., Pelham, B. W., Sheldon, O., & Sullivan, B. (2003). Social inequality and the reduction of ideological dissonance on behalf of the system: Evidence of enhanced system justification among the disadvantaged. European Journal of Social Psychology, 33, 13–36. doi:10.1002/ejsp.127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jost, J. T., Wakslak, C., & Tyler, T. R. (2008). System justification theory and the alleviation of emotional distress: Palliative effects of ideology in an arbitrary social hierarchy and in society. In K. Hegtvedt & J. Clay-Warner (Eds.), Justice: Advances in group processes (Vol. 25, pp. 181–211). Bingley: JAI/Emerald.Google Scholar
- Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Peach, J. M., Laurin, K., Friesen, J., Zanna, M. P., et al. (2009). Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 421–434. doi:10.1037/a0015997.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kahneman, D., & Deaton, A. (2010). High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 16489–16493.Google Scholar
- Menard, S. (1995). Applied logistic regression analysis. Sage university paper series on quantitative applications in the social sciences, Series No. 07–106. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Overall, N. C., Sibley, C. G., & Tan, R. (in press). The costs and benefits of sexism: Resistance to influence during relationship conflict. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0022727.
- Reid, J., & Sibley, C. G. (2009). The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study 2009: Sampling procedure and technical details. Unpublished technical report, The University of Auckland. Retrieved from http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/new-zealand-attitudes-and-values-study
- Salmond, C., Crampton, P., & Atkinson, J. (2007). NZDep2006 Index of Deprivation. Wellington: Department of Public Health. Retrieved from http://www.uow.otago.ac.nz/academic/dph/research/socioeconomicdeprivation.html
- United Nations Development Programme (2009). Human Development Report 2009. Retrieved from http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2009/