Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Oswald, Debra L.

Second Advisor

Grych, John

Third Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen

Abstract

This study examined the moderating role of ambivalent sexism in the relationship between power and approval of infidelity. College students were randomly assigned to high- and low-power conditions and completed measures assessing their perceived power, endorsed sexism toward men and women, and approval of their own possible infidelity. It was hypothesized that the association between perceived power and permissive attitudes toward infidelity would vary according to participants' endorsement of hostile and benevolent sexism. The hypotheses were partially supported, and the results revealed the importance of both participant gender and sexism as predictors of attitudes toward infidelity. Hostile sexism toward men and women moderated the relationship between power and approval of uncommitted sexual relationships and infidelity. For women, hostile sexism toward men was positively associated with permissive attitudes toward infidelity. For men, hostile sexism toward women was positively associated with approval of uncommitted sexual relationships. In addition, while hostile sexism toward women predicted approval of uncommitted sexual relationships, hostile sexism toward men was associated with approval of infidelity. Exploratory analyses examining participant's reported narcissism were also conducted. For men, hostile sexism toward women marginally moderated the relationship between narcissism and approval of uncommitted sexual relationships. These findings partially support an integrated model of infidelity that accounts for attitudinal differences as well as macro-level issues, such as gendered power.

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