Parental Sexism and its Relationship with Daughters’ Sexism, Self-esteem, and Career Aspirations

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dc.contributor.advisor Duckitt, J en
dc.contributor.advisor Overall, N en Ashraf, Momina en 2015-02-04T00:29:14Z en 2015 en
dc.identifier.citation 2015 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This thesis aims to bring together research in two areas of psychology: parent-daughter relationships and the theory of ambivalent sexism (Glick & Fiske, 1996, 2001b; Glick et al., 2000). Ambivalent sexism theory proposes that sexism is characterized not just by hostile sexism (HS) but also by a subjectively positive, benevolent sexism (BS). Within familial relationships BS helps to maintain smooth relationships between men and women at the individual level while still maintaining gender inequality at a societal level. Despite a great deal of research on ambivalent sexism theory, little is known about how parents’ benevolent and hostile sexist attitudes might influence daughter outcomes. This research is designed to fill this gap. The main objective of the study was to investigate how parental sexist attitudes predict a range of daughter outcome variables, such as sexist attitudes, self-esteem, and career aspirations. In addition, this research also investigated the association between daughters’ own sexist attitudes and their self-esteem and career aspirations. Two studies were conducted: the first a survey of daughters and their parents, and the second a later follow-up study of the daughters to generate longitudinal data. The participants in the first study were female university students and their parents (N = 139 families), who responded to survey questionnaires. The follow up study was conducted one year later and consisted of a further survey of the original sample of daughters of whom 116 responded. The findings of the first study are reported in three separate chapters. The first chapter analysed parents’ data to examine what parental background and attitudinal factors predicted their BS and HS, and to what extent these variables all predicted the values they promoted in their daughters and their career aspirations for their daughters. Analyses supported the differential motivational model (Sibley, Wilson, & Duckitt, 2007) for fathers with right wing authoritarianism (RWA) as being the primary predictor of BS and social dominance orientation (SDO) the primary predictor of HS. In mothers, on the other hand, both BS and HS were predicted only by RWA. The results, in addition, demonstrated that hostile sexist parents and benevolently sexist mothers promoted more extrinsic than intrinsic values in daughters. Interestingly, fathers’ BS was positively associated with higher career aspirations for daughters, possibly reflecting a familial in-group bias and a desire to protect their daughters’ welfare. The second chapter analysed the daughters’ data investigating what daughter background and attitudinal factors predicted daughters’ sexist attitudes, self-esteem, and career aspirations. The results partially supported the differential motivational model for the prediction of HS and BS with RWA being the primary predictor of both BS and HS and SDO only predicting HS. Daughters’ higher in HS had lower self-esteem and lower career aspirations. And finally, daughters’ higher RWA and SDO also had indirect negative effects on self-esteem through their HS, and daughters’ higher SDO had an indirect effect on lower career aspirations through HS. The third chapter analysed parents’ and daughters’ data together to investigate the degree to which parents’ sexism and other parental variables predicted daughters’ sexism, self-esteem, and career aspirations. In addition to direct effects, these analyses also investigated interactions between parental variables in predicting daughter outcomes, and how the effects of parental variables on daughter outcomes might be mediated via daughters’ own social attitudes, values, and identification with their parents. The results demonstrated that mothers seemed to be the primary role models for daughters’ acquisition of sexist and other social attitudes, as well as daughters’ values and career aspirations. Father variables in comparison had weaker or nonsignificant effects. Fathers’ HS, however, predicted higher BS in daughters, which is consistent with theoretical proposals that women’s endorsement of BS can be a defensive reaction to societal (or, in this case, parental) HS (Fischer, 2006; Glick et al., 2000). For the prediction of daughters’ self-esteem, the results revealed an interesting interaction between fathers’ HS and BS such that fathers with lower BS and higher HS had daughters with higher self-esteem. The analyses also revealed an indirect pathway from fathers’ HS to higher daughter self-esteem. This indirect effect was mediated via an effect of higher father HS on daughters’ stronger identification with the mother which in turn positively predicted daughters’ self-esteem and career aspirations. Mothers’ HS and BS did not have any direct effects on daughters’ self-esteem and career aspirations. The second study comprising the one year follow up of the daughters used longitudinal data to investigate possible causal effects of parent and daughter variables on daughters’ sexist attitudes, self-esteem, and career aspirations. The findings indicated that daughters’ HS predicted higher RWA over time, whereas RWA predicted higher HS over time. The crosslagged regressions also suggested a complex reciprocal relationship between daughters’ HS and their self-esteem. Higher daughters’ self-esteem in two self-esteem domains (self-regard and physical appearance) predicted lower daughters’ HS over time, whereas higher daughters’ HS predicted lower self-esteem in two other domains (social confidence and school abilities) over time after controlling for daughters’ SDO, while SDO simultaneously predicted an increase in these two self-esteem domains. The longitudinal analyses also indicated that mothers’ HS predicted an increase in daughters’ HS over time whereas fathers’ HS predicted an increase in daughters’ BS over time. Taken together these studies suggested that parents’ sexist attitudes might have important implications for the development of daughters’ sexist attitudes, self-esteem and career aspirations. Parents’ sexist attitudes significantly predicted daughters’ sexist attitudes but mothers’ and fathers’ effects differed in nature. The results demonstrated that fathers’ BS was more harmful for daughters’ self-esteem and career aspirations than HS which was unexpectedly associated with higher self-esteem and (marginally significantly) with higher career aspirations. However, the effect sizes for father-daughter associations were weak. The effect sizes for mother-daughter associations were in the weak and moderate range. Finally, an important possible limitation on the generality of these findings is that they were obtained from generally higher socio-economic participants, in a relatively gender egalitarian society (New Zealand) and therefore might not be generalizable to lower socio-economic samples or to more traditional, and gender non-egalitarian cultures. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Parental Sexism and its Relationship with Daughters’ Sexism, Self-esteem, and Career Aspirations en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 474787 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2015-02-04 en

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