Perceptions of the Voluntarily Childless: The Negative Stigma of an Unconventional Ideal
This study examined the potential implications of religious affiliation on perceptions of voluntarily childless couples. Undergraduate students were given a vignette about an adult couple that either had children or that was childless, and were subsequently asked to complete questionnaires that rated the couple on a variety of personality dimensions. It was predicted that individuals who identify with pronatalist religious sects have more negative perceptions of those who are childless. There was a significant contrast in the views that Christian individuals held toward couples that were voluntarily childless versus those that had two children, suggesting that this religious affiliation is associated with perceptions of those who stray from the standards of the pronatalist society. Recommendations for furthering this field of research may include exploring the role of religiosity on perceptions of individuals who generally stray from traditional gender roles.
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