Research on the public's level of death penalty support (DPS) has neglected gender-specific models. While most previous work has shown that women have lower DPS than men, it is not clear whether traditional models of DPS will work for a sample restricted to women. The greater intolerance of the death penalty among women may overshadow or reduce the impact of traditional predictors of DPS among women. The present paper performs the first systematic gender-specific analysis of DPS. It uses national data from the 1990 General Social Survey. Measures of three variable sets were employed: symbolic orientations (e.g., political conservatism, authoritarianism); crime salience (e.g., victimization, fear); and demographic controls. The results of a stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that political conservatism has a direct effect on the DPS of both men and women. For women only, authoritarianism also had a direct effect on DPS. Further analysis showed that for women, six variables exert an indirect effect on DPS through political conservatism and five through authoritarianism. Only three indirect effects were found for men. However, none of the 16 variables analyzed had a significant gendered effect. Indicators of traditional models of DPS were found to work as well for women as they did for men.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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