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Reciprocal relationships between attitudes about gender and social contexts during young adulthood

Publication Abstract

Cunningham, M., Ann Beutel, Jennifer S. Barber, and Arland Thornton. 2005. "Reciprocal relationships between attitudes about gender and social contexts during young adulthood." Social Science Research, 34(4): 862-892.

Using data from a 31-year panel study, we investigate reciprocal relationships between individuals' attitudes about gender and their experience with a range of social settings commonly associated with the transition to adulthood. These settings include school, the labor market, independent living arrangements, cohabitation, marriage, and parenthood. We consider the extent to which gender and age moderate the relationships between attitudes about gender and exposure to these social contexts. Ordinary least squares regression and hazard models demonstrate that support for egalitarian roles for women and men in families is positively linked to subsequent school enrollment, women's full-time employment, and independent living, but negatively associated with the subsequent timing of entry into marriage and marital parenthood. Accumulated schooling, independent living, and full-time employment are associated with changes in individuals' attitudes about gender. Despite careful attention to gender differences, we find surprisingly little evidence that the causes and consequences of attitudes about gender differ for women and men, with the primary exception being the positive association of employment and egalitarian gender attitudes for women but not for men.

DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2005.03.001 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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