Single Parents at Work: The Effects of the Intersection of Gender, Parental Status, and Marital Status on Workplace Outcomes
Status characteristics theory
AdvisorLeahey, Erin E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 07/10/2019
AbstractThis dissertation examines the intersection of gender, parenthood status, and marital status on workplace outcomes. In Part 1, I investigate the effects of marital status (whether a job candidate is married or single) on perception, salary, and employment outcomes for mothers and fathers. Drawing on Status Characteristics Theory (SCT) and gender scholarship, I develop and test an argument that the marital status of job applicants moderates the relationship between gender, parenthood status, and workplace outcomes, reducing or eliminating the previously found motherhood penalty for single mothers and fatherhood premium for single fathers. The results of the laboratory experiment support my hypotheses for a range of workplace outcomes, including perceptions of competence and commitment, hireability, and promotability. In Part 2 of this dissertation, I analyze 37 in-depth interviews with single parents about their core motivations, support networks, and workplace experiences. While Part 1 of this dissertation suggests the elimination of the motherhood penalty and the fatherhood premium among single parents, this finding, as evidenced by interviews with single parents, does not imply that single mothers fare better in the workplace than single fathers. In depth interviews demonstrate that single fathers are privileged by having better access to male-dominated occupations and job positions that grant more flexibility and autonomy. In addition, single mothers have to prove themselves as reliable workers in order to gain flexibility accommodations. I discuss the implications and limitations of both studies and; directions for future research.
Degree ProgramGraduate College