What's In a Name? Exploring the Influence of Maternal Last Name on Attitudes Toward Children
Personal names; Stereotypes (Social psychology)
This study explored the role that maternal similarity or dissimilarity of last name plays in the formation of impressions of children. Borrowing methods from social cognition research, photographical and textual vignettes describing a hypothetical child were used to investigate the effects of maternal last name, socioeconomic status, living arrangement, marital status of the parents, and the child's sex on parents' attitudes toward children.
Attitudes were measured using the recently developed Child Attribution Scale (CAS) and the Social Interaction Scale for Children (SIS-C). Results yielded a main effect of the child's sex and conditional effects of socioeconomic status on the perceived attractiveness of the child. Attributions toward the child were influenced largely by attractiveness, but also by an interaction between maternal last name and marital status. Similarly, the attractiveness of the child also impacted social interaction score however, parents' willingness to allow social interaction with the child was also influenced by an interaction between maternal last name, marital status, and living arrangement. Findings suggest that maternal last name plays an important, yet complex role in the formation of impressions of children with differing attributional processes toward children based upon similarity or dissimilarity of last name. Specifically, results suggest that having a maternally similar or dissimilar last name activates either positive or negative assumptions, often based on stereotypes and/or prejudice. These assumptions are further dependent upon other variables such as marital status and living arrangement and, in turn, they influence subsequent impressions and evaluations children.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Wise, Teresa Napolitano, "What's In a Name? Exploring the Influence of Maternal Last Name on Attitudes Toward Children" (2003). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 1069.