Sexist Attitudes and Close Relationships

cropped-shutterstock_188030168.jpgAnother one of our research programmes examines how beliefs about men and women shape the way people respond in intimate relationships and the consequences that ensue. Our research has shown how sexist attitudes influence partner preferences, shape reactions to conflict and dissatisfaction, and affect the delivery of support in relationship interactions. Not surprisingly, hostile attitudes toward women tend to produce aggressive relationship perceptions and behaviour that undermine relationship satisfaction. However, beliefs that men should ‘protect and provide’ for women have a mix of contradictory effects on relationships. On the one hand, men that endorse these ideals behave with more caring and positivity toward their partners, which enhances relationship satisfaction for both men and women. On the other hand, these kind of relationship beliefs set men and women up for greater dissatisfaction if relationships don’t live up to the romantic picture these attitudes promise. Our research also demonstrates that examining the impact of sexist attitudes within intimate relationships is crucial to understanding how sexist ideologies maintain gender inequality by promoting women’s endorsement of sexist attitudes and increasing women’s dependence on relationships. 

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Relevant Publications:

Overall, N.C. & Hammond, M.D. (in press). How intimate relationships contribute to gender inequality: Sexist attitudes encourage women to trade-off career success for relationship security. Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain

Cross, E.J., & Overall, N.C. (in press). Women’s attraction to benevolent sexism: Needing relationship security predicts greater attraction to men who endorse benevolent sexism. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Hammond, M.D. & Overall, N.C. (2017). Intimate relationship dynamics reveal important causes, consequences and functions of sexist attitudes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 120-125.

Hammond M. D., & Overall, N. C. (2017). Sexism in interpersonal contexts. In Sibley, C. G., & Barlow, F. K. (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Psychology of Prejudice (pp. 321-344).  Cambridge University Press.

Cross, E.J., Overall, N.C., Hammond, M.D., & Fletcher, G.J.O. (2017). When does men’s hostile sexism predict relationship aggression? The moderating role of partner commitment. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 331-340.

Overall, N.C., Hammond, M.D., McNulty, J.K., & Finkel, E.J. (2016). Power in context: Relationship and situational power interact to predict men’s aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111, 195-217. DOI: 10.1037/pspi0000059

Cross, E.J., Overall, N.C. & Hammond, M.D. (2016). Perceiving partners to endorse benevolent sexism attenuates highly anxious women’s negative reactions to conflict. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 923-940.

Hammond, M.D., Overall, N.C. & Cross, E.J. (2016). Internalizing sexism within close relationships: Perceptions of intimate partners’ benevolent sexism promote women’s endorsement of benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 214-238.

Hammond, M.D., & Overall, N.C. (2015). Benevolent sexism and support of romantic partner’s goals: Undermining women’s competence while fulfilling men’s intimacy needs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 1180-1194. DOI: 10.1177/0146167215593492

Hammond, M.D., & Overall, N.C. (2014). Endorsing benevolent sexism magnifies willingness to dissolve relationships when facing partner-ideal discrepancies. Personal Relationships, 21(2), 272-287. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12031 [Download PDF]

Hammond, M.D., Sibley, C.G., & Overall, N.C. (2014). The allure of sexism: Narcissism fosters women’s endorsement of benevolent sexism over time. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 422-429. DOI: 10.1177/1948550613506124

Hammond, M.D., & Overall, N.C. (2013). Men’s hostile sexism and biased perceptions of intimate partners: Fostering dissatisfaction and negative behavior in close relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1585-1599. DOI: 10.1177/0146167213499026  [Download PDF]

Hammond, M.D., & Overall, N.C. (2013). When Relationships do not live up to Benevolent Ideals: Women’s Benevolent Sexism and Sensitivity to Relationship Problems. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 212-223. DOI:10.1002/ejsp.1939  [Download PDF]

Overall, N.C., Sibley, C.G., & Tan, R. (2011). The costs and benefits of sexism: Resistance to influence during relationship conflict interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 271–290. DOI: 10.1037/a0022727 [Download PDF]

Sibley, C.G., & Overall, N.C. (2011). A dual-process motivational model of ambivalent sexism and gender differences in romantic partner preferences. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 35, 303-317. DOI: 10.1177/0361684311401838

Sibley, C.G., Overall, N.C., & Duckitt, J., Perry, R., Milfont, T.L., Khan, S.S., Fischer, R., & Robertson, A. (2009). Your sexism predicts my sexism: Perceptions of men’s (but not women’s) sexism affects one’s own sexism over time. Sex Roles, 60, 682-693. DOI: 10.1007/s11199-008-9554-8 [Download PDF]

Travaglia, L.K., Overall, N.C., & Sibley, C.G. (2009). Hostile and benevolent sexism and preferences for romantic partners. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 599-604. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2009.05.015 [Download PDF]

Sibley, C.G., Overall, N.C., & Duckitt, J. (2007). When women become more hostilely sexist toward their gender: The system-justifying effect of benevolent sexism. Sex Roles, 57, 743-754. DOI: 10.1007/s11199-007-9306-1 [Download PDF]

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