Defending the Voluntarily Childless Decision: Evaluating Accounts with Stigma in Mind
Committee ChairEmmers-Sommer, Tara
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUsing the account episode (Schonbach,1992) as a framework, this study examined several variables related to how attributions are made and managed in the context of voluntary childlessness, arguably an instance of concealable stigma (e.g., Park, 2005; 2002). More specifically, the means by which voluntarily childless persons account for their childless decision (and how these accounts are evaluated) were examined, along with factors salient to social identity and intergroup perceptions (e.g., social dominance orientation, self-construal). Extant scholarship suggested that excuses and justifications would be evaluated differently in terms of both their acceptability and the interpersonal implications they carry. Findings indicate that excuses and justifications were not related to the account's acceptability, but did produce different attributions of interpersonal warmth and competence in those who used them. The acceptability of the target's childless decision was higher for those with a strong independent self-construal, and lower for those holding a high social dominance orientation. Few differences between the voluntarily childless man and woman were found. All findings are discussed in the context of both account evaluation and perceptions of the voluntarily childless.