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Employment and Marriage Market Tradeoffs in an LGB Sample

By Doug Ziebarth, Peggy Stockdale, Megan Redhead and Milena Petrovic


Within the last few years, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals are becoming more openly present in many social spheres, including the workplace and long-term relationships. As such, social scientists can better test heteronormative assumptions about role relationships. We examined the marriage-career juxtaposition question to determine whether LGB adults view a disconnect between mate selection attractiveness and career attractiveness for LGB targets. Data were collected through snowball sampling through social media, and emailing local and national LGB organizations. A total of 355 individuals attempted our online survey with a final sample of 187 LGB adults (52% female) who provided complete, usable data. Participants rated 32 vignettes of a target gay man or lesbian woman, and rated each on how attractive they were for either a career position in health services management, systems management, or as a life-partner. Vignettes additionally varied on factors that were aligned with a career focus or family focus. Intraclass correlations (ICCs) were used to compare the mean ratings of gay or lesbian targets on these three conditions. High ICCs would indicate strong correspondence between perceptions of target individuals for career attractiveness ratings and partner attractiveness ratings, and negative ICCs would indicate juxtaposition between career and partner attractiveness ratings. The pattern of results indicated moderately positive ICCs for either type of management position and the life partner position, signifying that LGB adults did not perceive a juxtaposition in either managerial career’s attractiveness with partner attractiveness. The ICCs were stronger for gay men rating gay male targets than for lesbian target ratings; lesbian women’s ICCs were not as high or differentiated. Unlike studies of heterosexual populations, this LGB sample did not perceive a disconnect between attractiveness for a career in management versus attractiveness as a life-partner. These results call into question heteronormative assumptions about life and gender roles. Mentors: Peggy Stockdale, Department of Psychology, Purdue School of Science, IUPUI; Milena Petrovic, Department of Psychology, Purdue School of Science, IUPU

Topics: lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, employment, marriage
Publisher: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Year: 2014
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Provided by: IUPUIScholarWorks

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