Sex Roles

, Volume 78, Issue 9–10, pp 669–684 | Cite as

Parental Gender Expectations by Socioeconomic Status and Nativity: Implications for Contraceptive Use

  • Goleen Samari
  • Kate Coleman-Minahan
Original Article


Parental gender expectations, which may be egalitarian or not, could vary by nativity and socioeconomic status. Parental gender expectations provide a model for children’s gender role attitudes and could also have effects on reproductive health over the life course, including women’s contraceptive choices. Yet, parental gender expectations are not often studied quantitatively. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we examine how parental gender expectations in the United States vary by immigrant generation and socioeconomic status, whether parental gender expectations in adolescence are associated with young women’s contraceptive use, and if nativity moderates that relationship. Results show that parental gender expectations vary significantly by immigrant generation and parental socioeconomic status. Both first and second generation women are significantly less likely to have lived in households with equal gender expectations compared to the third generation. Higher socioeconomic status is associated with equal gender expectations. Among participants from households with equal gender expectations, the second generation is more likely than the third generation is to use a male-controlled contraceptive method versus no method. Using a nationally representative sample, our study demonstrates that parental gender expectations vary by nativity and by the socioeconomic context of the family in which they are embedded as well as have a unique effect on the contraceptive behavior of second generation women.


Gender equality Parental expectations Gender expectations Socioeconomic status Immigration Contraceptive use 



The present research was supported by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development training grant at the University of Texas at Austin (T32HD007081) and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin (P2CHD042849), which receives core support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. This study was supported by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

Compliance with Ethnical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest pertaining to this submission to Sex Roles. The authors certify that they have no affiliations or involvement with any organizations or entities with financial interest or non-financial interest in the subject matter discussed in this manuscript.

Human Subjects Research

This study is exempt as it does not meet the definition of human subject research, and the data are de-identified.

Supplementary material

11199_2017_820_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 27 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Research CenterUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.College of NursingUniversity of Colorado DenverAuroraUSA

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