Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 49 Issue 9 (September 2019), Pages 547-608

Gender bias in caregiving professions: The role of perceived warmth (pages 549-562)

Abstract One hypothesized reason for why a disproportionately low number of men enter caregiving fields is how such men are perceived. In two studies, drawing upon the Stereotype Content Model and the lack‐of‐fit model, we tested whether men would encounter more social (e.g., likeability bias) and economic (e.g., hiring or job opportunity bias) penalties than women in caregiving professions due to perceptions that men are less warm than women. In all three studies, we created job or employment materials in which the gender of the candidate or employee was manipulated. In Study 1, a female preschool teacher received higher warmth ratings than a male preschool teacher, which in turn predicted preference for the female teacher over the male teacher. In Study 2, a female social worker was rated more highly in warmth and job hireability than a male social worker; warmth also mediated the relationships between gender and both likeability and job hireability. In Study 3, a male preschool teacher was rated lower in warmth, likeability, job hireability, and job suitability than both a female preschool teacher and a preschool teacher with an unspecified gender. There were no differences between perceived competence of men and women in caregiving positions when competence was assessed. Implications for the factors that predict adverse reactions to and penalties against men in caregiving occupations, as well as interventions to combat the potential negative effects of such penalties on men's interest in caregiving careers, are discussed.

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