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Which representations of their gender group affect men's orientation towards care? The case of parental leave-taking intentions

  • Men are currently underrepresented in traditionally female care-oriented (communal) engagement such as taking parental leave, whereas they are overrepresented in traditionally male (agentic) engagement such as breadwinning or leadership. We examined to what extent different prototypical representations of men affect men’s self-reported parental leave-taking intentions and more generally the future they can imagine for themselves with regard to work and care roles (i.e., their possible selves). We expected prototypes of men that combine the two basic stereotype dimensions of agency and communion to increase men’s communal intentions. In two experiments (N1 = 132, N2 = 233), we presented male participants with contrived newspaper articles that described the ideal man of today with varying degrees of agency and communion (between-subjects design with four conditions; combined agentic and communal vs. agentic vs. communal vs. control condition). Results of Experiment 1 were in line with the main hypothesis that especially presenting a combination of agency and communion increases men’s expectations for communal engagement: As compared to a control condition, men expected more to engage in caretaking in the future, reported higher parental leave-taking intentions, and tended to expect taking longer parental leave. Experiment 2 only partially replicated these findings, namely for parental leave-taking intentions. Both experiments additionally provided initial evidence for a contrast effect in that an exclusive focus on agency also increased men’s self-reported parental leave-taking intentions compared to the control condition. Yet, exclusively emphasizing communion in prototypes of men did not affect men’s communal intentions, which were high to begin with. We further did not find evidence for preregistered mechanisms. We discuss conditions and explanations for the emergence of these mixed effects as well as implications for the communication of gendered norms and barriers to men’s communal engagement more broadly.
Author:Carolin Scheifele, Colette Van Laar, Melanie C. Steffens
Parent Title (English):PLOS ONE
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2022/01/17
Date of publication:2022/04/01
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Release Date:2022/04/01
Number of pages:35 Seiten
Institutes:Fachbereich 8 / Arbeitsbereich Sozial- und Wirtschaftspsychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
BKL-Classification:77 Psychologie / 77.69 Sozialpsychologie: Sonstiges
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG