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Running head: COMMITMENT AND STEREOTYPE

The Effect of Job Commitment and Job Stereotype on Perceptions of Maternal Competence April 17, 2012

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Abstract Researchers investigated the existence of prejudice towards occupationally non-conforming women. Researchers instructed 48 undergraduates to complete a questionnaire after reading a written vignette. Researchers measured job commitment and job stereotype by manipulating job commitment (full-time, part time) and job type (teacher, attorney) of stimulus mothers in the vignette. Researchers measured perceptions of maternal competence using three items on the questionnaire to assess perceptions of mother-child relationship security. The researchers hypothesized that full-time mothers would be perceived as less maternally competent than parttime mothers, that attorneys would be perceived as less maternally competent than teachers, and that the effect of job stereotype would be greater for full-time working mothers than for part-time working mothers. Results did not support the third hypothesis.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE The Effects of Job Commitment and Job Stereotype on Perceptions of Maternal Competence For over a decade, working has been the norm for women in the United States, and most mothers are employed at least part-time outside the home (Christopher, 2012). Despite the increasing number of women who have worked outside of the home over the last few decades (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1999), recent studies have indicated that prejudice towards employed mothers persists (Shpancer, et al., 2006; Brescoll & Uhlmann, 2005); specifically, people perceive working mothers to be less maternally competent than stay-at-home mothers (Shpancer, et al., 2006). When reviewing potential causes of this phenomenon, one should acknowledge the good mother stereotype, which characterizes the ideal mother as an unemployed wife who remains at home with her children (Russo, 1979); perhaps, employed women are discriminated against simply because they do not occupationally conform to the feminine stereotype. Examination of previous research provides implications that support this theory. Shpancer, Melick, Sayre, and Spivey (2006) sought to explore evidence of workingmother prejudice by investigating the effect of mothers type of care (at home or working mother) on young womens evaluations of mother-infant interactions. They found that after participants watched two videos depicting equally high-quality mother-infant interactions, they rated the maternal care quality of at-home mothers systematically higher than that of workingmothers. This finding suggests that bias against employed women has persisted into the twentyfirst century, and leads one to wonder if these women are prejudiced simply because their jobs do not conform to the traditional feminine stereotype. Under the assumption that more occupational conformity to the feminine stereotype is associated with higher perceptions of maternal

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE competence, one could infer that working mothers with feminine jobs would receive less prejudice than those with masculine jobs. Following this notion further, a study by Shinar (1979) provides insight to perceptions of individuals with gender-congruent or gender-incongruent jobs. Participants read a questionnaire that described individuals with sex-appropriate, neutral, or sex-inappropriate jobs, and then rated the individuals' likeability, social sensitivity, interpersonal adjustment, attractiveness, individualism, leadership, and liberalism. The results showed that participants perceived women with gender-conforming (feminine) jobs to be more interpersonally adjusted, socially sensitive, and attractive than women with non-conforming (masculine) jobs; while the participants rated women with masculine jobs as having more leadership and being more liberal and individualistic than women with feminine jobs, they did not perceive them as less likeable. These findings support the theory that occupational conformity to the feminine stereotype influences perceptions of maternal competence; because traits such as social sensitivity and interpersonal adjustment contribute to the development of high mother-child security attachments, one could infer that women with feminine jobs would be perceived to be better mothers than women with masculine jobs. A notable result of this study is the fact that women with masculine jobs were not perceived to be less likeable than women with feminine jobs. When combined with the finding that these women were perceived to have more positive masculine traits, this suggests that demonstrations of non-conformity may not always be detrimental. The contradicting implications of previous research may be expanded by the results of another recent study (Brescoll, V.L., & Uhlmann, E.L., 2005). Brescoll and Uhlmann (2005) examined perceptions of traditional (unemployed mothers and employed fathers) and non traditional (employed mothers and unemployed fathers) parents in adults. Participants read

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE descriptions of parents, who either decided to stay at home with their children or to work, then rated the parents' parenting quality and perceived feelings of warmth toward the parent. The results showed that participants felt more coldly towards non-traditional parents and considered them to be worse parents than traditional parents. These findings contradict those of Shinar (2004) by demonstrating that people tolerate individuals with non-conforming job types more than those with non-conforming employment statuses; while women with masculine jobs were not liked less than those with feminine jobs (Shinar, 1979), employed women received colder feelings than unemployed women (Brescoll & Uhlmann, 2005). These findings indicate that people may place more emphasis on job commitment than job type when evaluating the quality of maternal care, and should be considered when evaluating the results of the current study. The current study investigates the effects of job commitment and job stereotype on perceptions of maternal competence. While the implications of prior findings contradict one another, the majority suggests that occupational conformity to the feminine role contributes to higher perceptions of maternal competence; thus, we hypothesized that participants who read about a full-time working mother as opposed to a part-time working mother would perceive less maternal competence, as would participants who read about a mother with a masculine job as opposed to a mother with a feminine job. Evidence that mothers who are more committed to their jobs receive prejudice than less committed mothers (Shpancer, et al., 2006) led us to assume that full-time mothers would benefit the most from having feminine jobs; thus, we also predicted that the effect of job stereotype would be greater for full-time working mothers than for part-time working mothers. Method

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Participants Participants included 48 undergraduate students from a medium-sized university on the east coast. Of the 48 students, 32 were female (66.7%), 15 were male (31.3%), and one participant did not indicate his or her gender. Their ages ranged from 18-22 years (M = 20.63, SD = .914) and their years in school ranged from 1-4 years (M = 2.96, SD = .713). Most participants were recruited in an upper-level psychology course without compensation. All participants gave informed consent before volunteering in the study. Design A 2 x 2 between-participants design was employed to measure the effects of job commitment and job stereotype on perceptions of maternal competence. Theoretically, job commitment represented mothers commitment to their jobs in terms of time spent working, while job stereotype represented the concordance of the mothers jobs to the feminine stereotype. The researcher measured job commitment and job stereotype by manipulating the job commitment (full-time, part time) and job type (teacher, attorney) of stimulus mothers in a written vignette. To assess perceptions of maternal competence, students were asked to complete a questionnaire after reading descriptions of mothers on a written vignette. Scores on three of its items were used to assess participants perceptions of mother-child relationship security, with high scores indicating higher perceptions of maternal competence. Materials Each participant was given one of four written vignettes that contained descriptions of stimulus mothers. The descriptions varied with respect to the stimulus mothers job commitment (full-time, part-time) and job type (teacher, attorney). The occupations of teacher and attorney were chosen because they have been perceived as feminine and masculine, respectively

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE (Wilbourn & Kee, 2010). The following is the description of the part-time working teacher: Tammy is married, has two young children, and has worked part-time as a teacher since before the children were born. Each participant also received a questionnaire that collected demographic data and comprised four items that measured perceptions of mother-child relationship security (see Appendix B). Three items asked participants to rate the stimulus mothers emotional sensitivity, involvement, and relationship security with her children on a 6-point Likert rating scale (1 = Not at all, 6 = Extremely). The fourth item asked participants to rate the extent to which stress affected mother-child interactions, but was later excluded. Procedure All participants remained in one room (approximately 10 participants per session) and received folders containing the questionnaire and one of four vignettes. The experimenter randomly assigned them to one of four conditions (part-time/teacher, part-time/attorney, full-time/teacher, full-time/attorney) by handing them previously shuffled folders. After stating that their responses would remain anonymous, the researcher instructed the participants to read the vignette before completing the questionnaire. The researcher then gave the participants six minutes to complete the task and collected their folders afterward. Results The mother-child attachment security perceived by students from a written vignette was indicated on a 6-pt. scale. We computed a 2 x 2 between-participants ANOVA, with job commitment (full-time, part-time) and job type (teacher, attorney) as factors. Prior to data analysis, the data were transformed using to correct for left skew. Perceived mother-child relationship was measured with 4 items from the questionnaire (see Appendix B). As item 4 (How much do you think the stress of Tammys work life affects her interactions with her

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE children?) was not significantly correlated with the rest of the items (see Table 1), the composite perceived mother-child relationship score was obtained by averaging the scores of the items (items 1 to 3) that were significantly correlated. Prior to data analysis, the scores were squared to correct for left skewness. The data were assessed for statistical significance at = .05. The main effect for job commitment and the job commitment x job type interaction effect were statistically significant, F(1,44) = 5.08, p = .029; F(1,44) = 4.72, p = .035, respectively. The main effect for job type was not statistically significant, F(1,44) = 1.26, p = .268. The results revealed that respondents believed that mother-child attachment security was stronger in part-time mother-child pairs than in full-time mother-child pairs, and that the mean difference between teachers and attorneys in the full-time condition is greater than the mean difference between teachers and attorneys in the part-time condition. The mothers job type was not statistically significantly related to differences in perceived infant attachment security (see Table X for cell and marginal means and standard deviations). In order to understand the stability of our 2-way ANOVA results, we ran bootstrap simulations with 100 replications under three conditions. In the first condition, data were resampled under N = 48 to produce k = 100 datasets of this sample size. In the second condition, data were re-sampled to produce a dataset of twice the original sample size, or N = 96, also for k = 100 datasets of this sample size. In the third condition, data were re-sampled to produce a dataset of quadruple the sample size, or N = 192, k = 100 datasets of this sample size. After each re-sampling, an F test for job commitment, job type, and the job commitment x job type interaction was computed. The results for each of these simulations are shown in Appendix B as percentages of the 100 replications not exceeding the p = .05 level under the three conditions. Statistical power for large effect sizes are given, for comparison. From these simulations, it

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE appears likely that repeated samples taken under sample size of 192 would result in detecting a statistically significant effect for job commitment, job type, and job commitment x job type. It also appears likely that repeated samples taken at a sample size of 96 would result in detecting a statistically significant effect for job type and job commitment x job type. Discussion The purpose of this experiment was to measure the effects of job commitment and job type on perceptions of maternal competence. We predicted that mothers with less job commitment would be perceived to be better mothers than those with more job commitment. The data strongly supported this hypothesis and are consistent with previous studies, which have found that people perceive full-time working women to be less family-oriented and less maternally competent than part-time working women (Shpancer, et al., 2006; Etaugh & Moss, 2001). Another study (Gorman & Fritzsche, 2006) suggests that perceptions of selflessness in mothers may influence perceptions of maternal competence; participants in this study perceived a mother who was satisfied with staying at home with her child to be more selfless and more committed to motherhood than a dissatisfied stay-at-home mother. Thus, perhaps the prejudice toward full-time working mothers in the current study can be explained by the belief that the full time working mothers sacrificed spending time with their children to further their careers. This possibility also raises the question of whether perceived selflessness is directly related to perceived maternal competence; perhaps, non-occupational demonstrations of selflessness could reduce bias toward mothers who are employed full-time. In terms of the current studys findings, however, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that mothers who are more committed to their jobs are perceived to be worse mothers than mothers who are less committed.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE We also hypothesized that women with feminine jobs would be perceived to be better mothers than women with masculine jobs; the data did not support this hypothesis and suggest that the masculinity of a womans job type, alone, does not influence perceptions of her mothering ability. This finding does not contradict previous research, as no studies have investigated whether job conformity to the feminine stereotype affects perceptions of maternal competence. However, research has shown that people perceive masculine women to be more occupationally competent than feminine women (Phelan, et al., 2008). This finding implies that masculine traits may, in certain cases, provide greater societal benefits than feminine traits. Lastly, we predicted that the effect of job type would be greater for full-time working mothers than for part-time working mothers, and that part-time teachers would be perceived as having the highest mother-child relationship security. The data supported the hypothesis by showing an interaction effect between job commitment and job type; however, an unexpected finding was that the part-time attorney received the highest average perceived mother-child relationship security score. No previous research has examined the effects of both job commitment and job type on perceptions of maternal competence in women; however, studies have shown that occupational conformity to the feminine stereotype leads to higher perceptions of maternal competence among women (Shpancer, et al., 2006; Gorman & Fritzsche, 2002). The current study, on the other hand, contradicts these findings by demonstrating that the woman with a masculine job was perceived to be a better mother than the woman with a feminine job. Some insight to why participants perceived the part-time attorney to be a better mother than the part-time teacher may be derived from the finding that masculine women are perceived to be more occupationally competent than women with feminine jobs (Phelan, et al., 2008). Masculinity, therefore, may have its advantages in terms of occupational competence; however,

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE the fact that the full-time attorney was perceived as being the least maternally competent out of the four conditions implies that there are constraints on the extent to which a woman can deviate from femininity. Taking into account Gorman and Fritzsches (2006) conjecture that perceptions of selflessness may affect perceptions of maternal competence, one may infer that a combination of less job commitment with a masculine job is necessary to perceive a mother to be both competent and selfless, and, as a result, highly maternally competent. Overall, the current studys results suggest that masculine traits may enhance perceptions of maternal competence, but only when a mother is not perceived to be completely committed to her job. A potential limitation of the current study is the possibility of social desirability effects, which occur when participants answer questions inaccurately in order to avoid potential negative judgments from the experimenter. Because the questionnaire asked participants for their ratings, our participants may have altered their responses to seem less harsh toward mothers. Furthermore, our between-participant design did not control for individual differences (such as individuals exposure to working mother environments) that may have created bias in our results. Lastly, the use of a written vignette is not a very accurate representation of the mother-child interactions that are seen in everyday life; future research that uses video clips depicting equally high or low mother-child interactions as stimuli could test for the effects of job commitment and job type more accurately, and thus provide results that are more useful. The current study contributes the knowledge that complete conformity to the feminine stereotype is not necessary to be viewed as a good mother, and that masculine traits can, when accompanied with less job commitment, enhance perceptions of maternal competence. Because prior research has not investigated the effects of job type on perceptions of maternal competence, our results only support evidence that women who are more committed to their jobs are

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE perceived to be worse mothers than women who are less committed (Shpancer, et al., 2006). However, our findings contradict the notion that highly job-committed mothers experience prejudice merely because of their incongruity with the feminine stereotype; instead, they imply that full-time employment leads to lower perceptions of selflessness, which may directly influence perceptions of maternal competence. Future research should therefore investigate whether perceived selflessness predicts perceived maternal competence. On the other hand, maternal employment history has been found to be significantly correlated with perceptions of maternal competence (Shpancer, et al., 2006), and may therefore be more worth investigating. Identification of maternal employment history as a predictor of maternal competence perceptions would also allow us to infer, under the assumption that the number of working mothers continues to increase (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2012), that attitudes toward women who are highly committed to their jobs may become more favorable as the children of these mothers become adults; perhaps, people may eventually favor employed over unemployed mothers.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE References Shpancer, N., Melick, K.M., Sayre, P.S., & Spivey, A.T. (2006). Quality of care attributions to employed versus stay-at-home mothers. Early Child Development and Care, 176(2), 183193. Brescoll, V.L., & Uhlmann, E.L. (2005). Attitudes toward traditional and nontraditional parents. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 436-445. Wilbourn, M.P., & Kee, D.W. (2010). Henry the nurse is a doctor too: Implicitly examining childrens gender stereotypes for male and female occupational roles. Sex Roles, 62, 670683. Russo, N. (1979). Overview: Sex roles, fertility and the motherhood mandate. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 4(1), 1500-1507. Shinar, E.H. (1978). Person perception as a function of occupation and sex. Sex Roles, 4(5), 679693. Phelan, J.E., Moss-Racusin, C.A., & Rudman, L.A. (2008). Competent yet out in the cold: Shifting criteria for hiring reflect backlash toward agentic women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, 406-413. Gorman, K.A., & Fritzsche, B.A. (2002). The good-mother stereotype: Stay at home (or wish that you did!). Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(10), 2190-2201. Etaugh, C., & Moss, C. (2001). Attitudes of employed women toward parents who choose fulltime or part-time employment following their childs birth. Sex Roles, 44(9), 611-619. Christopher, K. (2012). Extensive mothering: Employed mothers constructions of the good mother. Gender & Society, 26(1), 23-96.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns: 19612008. Retrieved from www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-128.pdf.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Appendix A Four Vignettes on Tammy the Working Mom 1). Tammy is married, has two young children, and has worked part-time as a teacher since before the children were born. 2). Tammy is married, has two young children, and has worked full-time as a teacher since before the children were born. 3). Tammy is married, has two young children, and has worked part-time as an attorney since before the children were born. 4). Tammy is married, has two young children, and has worked full-time as an attorney since before children were born.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Appendix B Please answer the following questions regarding the description you have just read by circling the number on the scale that best corresponds to your response. Remember there are no right or wrong answers. This questionnaire is completely anonymous and confidential, so please answer each question as openly as possible. It should take about five minutes to complete this questionnaire. 1). How secure do you think Tammys relationship with her two children is? 1 2 Not at all secure 3 4 5 6 Extremely secure

2). How involved do you think Tammy is with her childrens school activities? 1 2 Not at all involved 3 4 5 6 Extremely involved

3). How sensitive do you think Tammy is to her childrens emotional needs? 1 2 Not at all sensitive 3 4 5 6 Extremely sensitive

4). How much do you think the stress of Tammys work life affects her interactions with her children? 1 Does not affect at all 2 3 4 5 6 Affects a great deal

Your age _______ Your Year in School _____________________ Your Sex (Circle One) Male / Female End of Questionnaire Thank you for your participation!

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Appendix C

Appendix C Results of Bootstrap Simulation of 100 Replications for N, 2N, and 4N Percent of Samples with F Statistics Having p < .05 A (Job Commitment) N 2N 4N 52% 83% 96% B (Job Type) Ax B (Job Commitment x Job Type) 56 % 84 % 97 % Predicted Power for Large Effect Size 68% 94% 99%

22% 34% 81 %

Note. Final project n = 12 per cell; N = 48.

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Table 1 Correlations Between Questionnaire Items Secure Secure Involved Sensitive Stress ** p < .01 level. * p < .05 level. ____ .464** .643** .207 Involved .464** ____ .482** .099 Sensitive .643** .482** ____ .233 Stress .207 .099 .233 ____

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE Table 2 Means and Standard Deviations for Job Commitment and Job Type on Perceived Mother-Child Relationship Security Group Job Commitment Part-Time Full-Time Job Type Teacher Attorney Job Commitment x Job Type Part-Time, Teacher Part-Time, Attorney Full-Time, Teacher Full-Time, Attorney 12 12 12 12 22.16 24.33 21.99 15.17 7.55 8.30 6.74 5.86 24 24 22.07 19.75 7.00 8.44 24 24 23.25 18.58 7.84 7.09 N Means Standard Deviations

JOB COMMITMENT AND JOB STEREOTYPE