Elizabeth F. Broady Sarah J. Hickman Hanover College
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1 Elizabeth F. Broady Sarah J. Hickman Hanover College Sex Differences in Relationships: Comparing Stereotypes to Self-reportsElizabeth F. BroadySarah J. HickmanHanover College
2 Browsing any self-help section of a bookstore, you are likely to find many titles aimed at solving relationship problems. Look closely, and most of the titles will be about men who cannot commit Men who can’t love, why men won’t commit…This is representative of how our culture views men and women in their relationships. Men are seen as commitment phobes and women are perceived as overly anxious to “tie the knot”. She wants a ring and I don’t wanna change a thing
3 Attitudes Toward Marriage In keeping with popular relationship views, women and men are perceived to be quite different. The general public perceives males as having more negative attitudes toward marriage and women as having more positive attitudes. However, we believe that males and females are much more similar when it comes to relationship attitudes and behaviors than our culture suggests.
4 Theoretical Perspectives Evolutionary theoryMen may be more likely to cheat and show less commitment because the costs of pregnancy are lower (Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Cann, Magnum & Wells, 2001).Social role theoryWomen have been primarily responsible for work inside the home which has led them to develop more communal attitudes including more positive attitudes toward marriage (Eagly,1987)So … what does the literature have to say about sex differences in relationship attitudes and behaviors. Do they really exist? We narrowed down a couple of relevant theories and found that both evolutionary theory and social role theory suggest that sex differences should exist. Evolutionary theory suggests, for example, that men may be more likely to cheat and show less commitment to any particular relationship because the benefits of a pregnancy are relatively high and the costs relatively low for men – [Elaborate]. Social role theory similarly suggests that men and women will have different relationship attitudes and behaviors. For example, women are socialized to have more communal attitudes and are more likely to be involved in home life, which translates into more positive attitudes toward marriage and a greater commitment to intimate relationships.
5 Empirical Evidence Oliver and Hyde, 1993 Men have more sexual partners than women (d=.25)Men are more likely to engage in extramarital sex than women (d=.29)The popular media and some theories suggest that men and women really differ in their relationship attitudes and behaviors. The research suggests that some differences do exist. The empirical evidence is really beginning to suggest that men and women are more alike than different. In a Meta-Analysis Oliver and Hyde found that men have more sexual partners than women and me are more likely to engage in extramarital sex. However the effect sizes of .25 and .29 respectively are very small.
6 Graphical representation of effect size In a graphical representation of the effect size in the .2 range you can see that approximately 80-85% of the areas of distribution overlap. Several researchers in the past have argued for the gender differences hypothesis that men and women are psychologically vastly different. However, Results like these have led researchers like Hyde away from a Gender differences hypothesis to a The Gender Similarities Hypothesis.
7 Why stereotypes?Belle, 1985We tend to focus on the differences when we are faced with two of anythingSo why are we using these stereotypes? Belle suggests that we tend to focus on the differences when we are faced with two of anything. This would explain why stereotypes remain or take over when differences, are in fact, small.
8 HypothesesMales and females will not differ in their self-reported attitudes toward marriage, commitment, or fidelityFemales will perceive males as having more negative attitudes toward marriage, lower commitment, and lower fidelity than males themselves reportMales will perceive females as having more positive attitudes toward marriage, higher commitment, and higher fidelity than females themselves reportConsistent with the gender similarities hypothesis, we hypothesize that males will not differ in their self-reported attitudes towards marriage, commitment, of fidelity or they will be very small.However, we believe that people will still have these stereotypes and that Females will perceive males as having more negative attitudes toward marriage, lower commitment, and higher infidelity than males themselves report.In addition, Males will perceive females as having more positive attitudes toward marriage, higher commitment, and lower infidelity than females themselves report
9 Variables of interest Attitudes toward marriage Commitment Fidelity We narrowed down three specific attitudes and behaviors that we wanted to investigate. Attitudes toward marriage, commitment, and infidelity.
10 Method Participants Procedure 133 (37 male, 96 female) Age range (18-47, M=21.5)Ethnicity79.7% Caucasian, 7.2% African AmericanProcedureInformed ConsentSurvey (counterbalanced)Debriefing
11 Questionnaire Attitudes Towards Marriage (Wallin, 1954) If you marry, to what extent will you miss the life you have had as a single person?Not at all (1) Very much (6)These are some example questions from our survey…Attitudes Towards Marriage (Wallin, 1954)If you marry, to what extent will you miss the life you have had as a single person?Not at all (1) Very much (6)Commitment Scale (Lund, 1985)I would rather spend my free time with my partner than doing other things or seeing other people.Not at all (1) Very much (6)Infidelity ScaleI have had an emotionally intimate relationship with someone other than my partner. (sexual tension may have been present, but never acted upon).Never Once Twice More than twiceOur Cronbach’s alphas were in the .8 to .9 range.
12 Questionnaire Commitment Scale (Lund, 1985) I would rather spend my free time with my partner than doing other things or seeing other people.Not at all (1) Very much (6)
13 Questionnaire Infidelity Scale I have had a purely physical relationship with someone other than my partner.Never Once Twice More than twice
14 Data Analysis Mixed Model ANOVA Between-subjects variable= SexWithin-subjects variable= RateeFollowed significant results with appropriate post-hoc comparisonsWe used a mixed model ANOVAThe between subjects variable was sex, the within subjects variable was ratee. Which means that participants are rating themselves or the opposite sexWe followed significant results with the appropriate post-hoc comparisons(we did a series of dependent t-tests)
15 Attitudes Toward Marriage NSThese are our findings on the attitudes toward marriage variable. As we predicted there is no significant differences in attitudes toward marriage between men and women. Both sexes reported having relatively positive attitudes towards marriage.
16 Attitudes Toward Marriage p < .001NSWe found that females perceive males as having significantly more negative attitudes toward marriage than males themselves report
17 Attitudes Toward Marriage p < .001NSNSIn our comparison of female self-reports and males perceptions of female attitudes toward marriage, we found no significance…..
20 DiscussionMen and women showed no significant differences in their self-reported attitudes and behaviorsWomen viewed men as having more negative attitudes and behaviors than men self-reportedMen were relatively accurate in predicting women’s attitudesMen viewed women more negatively in regards to fidelity than women self-reportedConsistent with predictions, males and females showed no significant differences across the three variables….Also consistent with our hypotheses, women viewed men as having more negative attitudes and behaviors in regards to relationships. Inconsistent with our hypothesis, men were relatively accurate in their views of women’s relationship attitudes. However, in regards to fidelity, men viewed women more negatively than women reported themselves to be.
21 DiscussionWomen are more likely than men to discuss relationship issues (Brody & Hall, 1993)Popular media emphasizes that men have difficulty in relationshipsWomen and men perceive themselves more positively than the opposite sex (Epley & Dunning, 2000)So why are we seeing these results. Women may be communicating their thoughts on these matters more than men are. This could explain why men are more accurate in their assessment of women and why women are not as accurate. As we mentioned before, there are several publications that promote the negative stereotypes of men that have become so common. If men aren’t talking, women are using these stereotypes as their alternative resource.One finding that didn’t fit with our hypothesis, we found that men and women perceived the opposite sex to be less faithful than they themselves reported to be. Epley and Dunning found that women and men perceive themselves more positively than the opposite sex because we tend to see others in a more negative light than we see ourselves.
22 Implications Stereotype inflation is a problem (Hyde, 2005) Couple conflictCommunicationStereotype inflation is a problem when it comes to relationships. It can cause conflict within relationships when partners believe themselves to be different, when they are actually quite similar. The impact of media portrayal of these differences is affecting the way couples communicate. Self-help books and magazine articles are telling us that we “speak a different language” which can cause men and women give up on trying to solve problems through better communication. We are convinced that we can’t understand each other, so we don’t event ATTEMPT to understand each other. If we continue to polarize the sexes, our relationships with each other will suffer.