In this research we examined whether emotional vulnerability leads women and men to confirm gender stereotypes. Emotional vulnerability is a state where one is open to having one's feelings hurt or to experiencing rejection. Drawing on the tenets of social role theory and research related to normative expectations, we propose that emotional vulnerability leads to stereotype confirmation, as normative expectations are less risky and easier to enact than nonnormative behavior. Fifty-nine dating couples were randomly assigned to a high emotional vulnerability or low emotional vulnerability discussion with their partners. When the degree of emotional vulnerability was high men confirmed gender-stereotypes. Women's behavior, on the other hand, was not significantly affected by condition. We discuss these findings in terms of the domain in which gender-typed behaviors occur and the social pressures to act in accordance with gender norms.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 28, 2004
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