Sex Roles

, Volume 39, Issue 3–4, pp 215–223 | Cite as

Perceptions of Parents Whose Work and Parenting Behaviors Deviate from Role Expectations

  • Claire Etaugh
  • Denise Folger


Perceptions of married parents were investigatedas a function of their gender, and the employment statusof both the parent and her or his spouse following theirchild's birth. College students (91 percent White, 9 percent African American, AsianAmerican and Hispanic) evaluated a briefly describedmarried employed parent on 31 7-point bipolar scalesthat described nurturance behaviors, job performancecharacteristics and stress/overload variables. Each evaluatorrated 1 of 8 parents portrayed as either a mother or afather who, following their infant's birth, eitherworked full-time or reduced her/his work hours, and whose spouse either worked full time or reducedhis/her work hours. Full-time employment, compared topart time employment, (1) enhanced perceptions of theprofessional competence of fathers, but not mothers; and (2)lowered evaluations of nurturance forboth parents, but especially for mothers. Mothers wereperceived as under more stress than fathers.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Biernat, M., & Wortman, C. B. (1991). Sharing of home responsibilities between professionally employed women and their husbands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 844–860.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bridges, J. S., & Etaugh, C. (1994). Black and white college women's perceptions of early maternal employment. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 427–431.Google Scholar
  3. Bridges, J. S., & Etaugh, C. (1995). College students' perceptions of mothers: Effects of maternal employment-childrearing pattern and motive for employment. Sex Roles, 32, 735–751.Google Scholar
  4. Bridges, J. S., & Orza, A. M. (1992). The effects of employment role and motive for employment on the perceptions of mothers. Sex Roles, 27, 331–343.Google Scholar
  5. Bridges, J. S., & Orza, A. M. (1993). Effects of maternal employment-childrearing pattern on college students' perceptions of a mother and her child. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 17, 103–117.Google Scholar
  6. Buss, D. M. (1981). Sex differences in the evaluation and performance of dominant acts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 147–154.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1975). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Crosby, F. J. (1991). Juggling. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  9. Eagly, A. H., & Steffen, V. J. (1986). Gender stereotypes, occupational roles, and beliefs about part-time employees. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 10, 242–262.Google Scholar
  10. Etaugh, C., & Nekolny, K. (1990). Effects of employment status and marital status on perceptions of mothers. Sex Roles, 23, 273–280.Google Scholar
  11. Etaugh, C., & Poertner, P. (1991). Effects of occupational prestige, employment status, and marital status on perceptions of mothers. Sex Roles, 24, 345–353.Google Scholar
  12. Etaugh, C., & Poertner, P. (1992). Perceptions of women: Influence of performance, marital and parental variables. Sex Roles, 26, 311–321.Google Scholar
  13. Etaugh, C., & Spinner, M. (1991). Perceptions of caregivers of elderly parents by college students: Effects of caregiver gender, type of care and presence of children. Journal of Women and Aging, 3, 37–52.Google Scholar
  14. Etaugh, C., & Study, G. G. (1989). Perceptions of mothers: Effects of employment status, marital status and age of child. Sex Roles, 20, 59–70.Google Scholar
  15. Gunter, N. C., & Gunter, B. G. (1990). Domestic division of labor among working couples: Does androgyny make a difference. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 14, 355–370.Google Scholar
  16. Gutek, B. A., Repetti, R. L., & Silver, D. L. (1988). Nonwork roles and stress at work. In C. L. Cooper & R. Payne (Eds.). Causes, coping and consequences of stress at work. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Jackson, L. A., & Cash, T. F. (1985). Components of gender stereotypes: Their implications for inferences on stereotypic and nonstereotypic dimensions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 11, 326–344.Google Scholar
  18. Jackson, L. A., & Sullivan, L. A. (1989, August). Perceptions of multiple role participants: Implications for the structure of gender stereotypes. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
  19. Nunnally, J. (1967). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  20. Nyquist, L., & Spence, J. T. (1984, August). Effects of personality and sex-role expectations on leadership choice and task behaviors. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  21. Pittman, J. F., & Kerpelman, J. L. (1993). Family work of husbands and fathers in dual-earner marriages. In J. Frankel (Ed.), The employed mother and the family context. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Pleck, J. H. (1993). Are “family supportive” employer policies relevant to men? In J. C. Hood (Ed.), Work, family and masculinities. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Rosenwasser, S. M., Gonzales, M. H., & Adams, V. (1985). Perceptions of a housespouse: The effects of sex, economic productivity, and subject background variables. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 9, 258–264.Google Scholar
  24. Russo, N. F. (1976). The motherhood mandate. Journal of Social Forces, 32, 143–154.Google Scholar
  25. Silverstein, L. B. (1996). Fathering is a feminist issue. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20, 3–37.Google Scholar
  26. White, M. J., Kruczek, T. A., Brown, M. T., & White, G. B. (1989, May). Occupational sex stereotypes among college students. Paper presented at the meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Etaugh
  • Denise Folger

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations