The Social Role Double Bind and the Implications for Contemporary College Students
Ades, Alisa Joy
Fassinger, Ruth E
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Past research indicates that mothers face a double bind: stay-at-home women are undervalued, and employed women are viewed as interpersonally deficient. This study examined the double bind by comparing perceptions of women and men in the same social role. College students read a brief description of a stay-at-home or employed (full-time/part-time) mother or father, rated the target on measures of instrumentality and communality, and estimated how often he/she performed nurturing behaviors. The college students also completed measures assessing their own career and family expectations. Results showed different trait perceptions of mothers and fathers in the same social role, indicating persistence of sex stereotyping and resistance to parents in nontraditional social roles. Notable effects included: employed mothers were considered significantly less nurturing than male counterparts; fathers employed part-time were rated less instrumental and more expressive than other targets; and, overall, mothers were expected to perform more nurturing behaviors, regardless of role.