Religion and Sexism: The Moderating Role of Participant
Lauren E. Maltby
M. Elizabeth L. Hall
Tamara L. Anderson
Published online: 27 March 2010
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010
Abstract The present study examined the relationship
between gender, religious belief and ambivalent sexism.
Specifically, this study tested the hypothesis that participant
gender moderates the relationship between religious belief
and ambivalent sexism. Three-hundred thirty seven Evan-
gelical Christian undergraduate students from the South-
western United States were administered the Ambivalent
Sexism Inventory and the Christian Orthodoxy Scale.
Results showed that gender moderated the relationship
between Christian orthodoxy and Protective Paternalism.
This finding suggests the importance of intervening
variables, such as gender, in understanding the relationship
between religion and sexism.
The research to be described in this article investigated the
role of gender in the relationship between religiosity and
ambivalent sexism. We report the results of a questionnaire
study that included measures of religious belief (The
Christian Orthodoxy Scale; Fullerton and Hunsberger
1982; Hunsberger 1989), and a measure of ambivalent
sexism (The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory; Glick and
Fiske 1996). The study makes a new contribution by
focusing on how the relationship between religious beliefs
and ambivalent sexism differs depending on gender.
Glick and Fiske’s(1996) reconceptualization of preju-
dice against women as ambivalent in nature revolutionized
research in the area of sexism. The introduction of
benevolent sexism and the concept of ambivalence toward
members of a target group are ideas that have already borne
much fruit both theoretically and empirically. The present
research aims to explore the relationship of religion to
ambivalent sexism with a specific emphasis on gender as a
possible moderator of this relationship.
Despite being more liked than men in the United States,
women still experience discrimination (Eagly and Mladinic
1993; Glick et al. 2000). Based on research in the United
States, Glick and Fiske identified the two components of
this ambivalence toward women as hostile and benevolent
sexism. They defined hostile sexism as antagonism. It is an
attitude toward gender relations in which women are
perceived to be using sexuality or feminist ideology to
control men, and characterizes women as “inferior in
ways that legitimize men’s social control” (Glick et al.
1997, p. 1323). Benevolent sexism on the other hand is a
belief which characterizes women “as pure creatures who
ought to be protected, supported, and adored and whose
love is necessary to make a man complete” (Glick and
Fiske 2001, p. 109). Although benevolent sexism may be
experienced as subjectively positive by the perpetrator,
such idealization of women implies that they are best
suited for domestic roles and are weaker than men (i.e., to say
that women need protection and provision implies that they
are incapable of protecting and providing for themselves).
Although Glick and Fiske’s theory was originally generated
L. E. Maltby (*)
M. E. L. Hall
T. L. Anderson
Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University,
13800 Biola Avenue,
La Mirada, CA 90639, USA
Sex Roles (2010) 62:615–622