Gender Stereotypes and Parental Status: A Comparison of Fathers, Mothers, and the Childless-by-Choice

Vincent Ciaccio, Caitlin A. Bronson, Richard J. Contrada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Only a modest amount of research has examined parental status stereotypes, and little has focused specifically on perceptions of childless-by-choice men. The present research systematically determined the content of stereotypes that are applied to men and women who are childless-by-choice and compared it with that of stereotypes associated with fathers and mothers. Participants recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk were instructed to ascribe traits from Prentice and Carranza (2002) to 1 of 6 targets varying in gender and parental status. Results revealed that fathers were rated lower on proscribed (negative) agentic traits and higher on prescribed (positive) communal traits than childless-by-choice men. Mothers were stereotyped as possessing higher levels of both prescribed (positive) and proscribed (negative) communal traits and lower levels of prescribed (positive) agentic traits compared with childless-by-choice women. These findings are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications of stereotypes associated with parental status in general and among men in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • Childless
  • Childless-by-choice
  • Fathers
  • Parental status
  • Stereotypes


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