Beyond the eye of the beholder : perceived gender role departure in close relationships




Redlick, Madeleine H.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of perceived gender role departure (PGRD) as it relates to both perceived stigma and individuals’ perceptions of their romantic relationships. To accomplish this task, first a novel method for measuring PGRD and its four sub-dimensions (source, type, magnitude, and direction) was advanced and tested for viability among a sample of United States adults (N = 401). Results indicated that the scale was viable. Following this the associations between and among each of the sub-dimensions of PGRD and perceived stigma were investigated. Results indicated that the interaction of source and magnitude was most strongly related to perceived stigma. Then, associations between perceived stigma and individuals’ perceptions of their romantic relationships were proposed and tested. Perceived stigma was significantly and negatively associated with investment model variables (commitment, investment, satisfaction, perceived quality of alternatives) and intimacy, and significantly positively associated with relational uncertainty. Finally, a meditational model was proposed, wherein perceived stigma acted to intervene in the relationship between PGRD and individuals’ perceptions of their romantic relationship. Perceived stigma was found to significantly mediate the negative association between PGRD and investment model variables, and to significantly mediate the positive association between vi PGRD and relational uncertainty. The results of this study are discussed in terms of their potential contributions to biosocial construction theory and also to discourses that resist binary notions of gender. Finally, the potential applicability of the results to designing interventions for individuals or couples who feel that their relationships might be negatively impacted by PGRD are offered.


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