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Testing an Undertested Comparison: Maternal Effects on Sons' and Daughters' Attitudes toward Women in the Labor Force

Brian Powell and Lala Carr Steelman
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 44, No. 2 (May, 1982), pp. 349-355
DOI: 10.2307/351544
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351544
Page Count: 7
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Testing an Undertested Comparison: Maternal Effects on Sons' and Daughters' Attitudes toward Women in the Labor Force
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Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between a mother's work status and educational level and the sex-role attitudes (toward women in the labor force) of her offspring. Although several studies have addressed the issue of the mother's influence on sex-role attitudes, these studies have analyzed results for females exclusively or have not explicitly compared results for males and females. The studies which have attempted a comparison have produced inconsistent findings and have been based on college samples, making generalization difficult. Using 1977 data obtained from NORC, this study compares the effects of maternal characteristics on the sex-role attitudes of males and females. Results suggest that the association between maternal characteristics and attitudes toward women in the labor force is stronger for males than it is for females. An explanation for the differential impact of the mother is provided. The paper underscores the need to investigate males and females in sex-role research.

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