Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Kathleen M. Ingram, J.D., Ph.D.


Previous research suggests that childfree and childless women are perceived more negatively than mothers. This study investigated attitudes based on parental status, race, and descriptive label. Undergraduate students (N = 386) were randomized to consider targets described as childless, childfree, or mothers/parents. Participants completed a personality characteristic rating scale, the competence and warmth scales of the Stereotype Content Model, an evaluation thermometer, a measure of pronatalism, and a Single Category Implicit Association Test. Childless and childfree women of all races were perceived more negatively than mothers, and women in all parental status groups were ambivalently stereotyped. Implicit attitudes favored parents and childfree targets; however, neither positive nor negative attitudes were demonstrated toward childless targets. Implicit and explicit attitudes were related yet distinct constructs for childless and childfree targets, but were unrelated for parents. With these findings, this study makes a unique contribution to the literature on childlessness and childfreedom.


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