When Family Interrupted Work: The Implications of Gendered Role Perception in the Face of COVID-19

S. Susie Lee, Melody M Chao, Hongwei He

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Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals are confronted with the work-from-home challenge, which often results in work-family interference. Although prior to COVID-19, the influence of traditional gender role expectations was shown to be reduced over time, it is unclear whether and how such traditional worldview might influence judgments towards men and women when family interrupted work under the threat of COVID-19. This study presented and tested competing predictions derived from the gender role theory. An experimental study with 971 adults showed that during (vs. before) COVID-19 pandemic, men were evaluated more negatively when they experienced family interruption to work compared with women. The negative evaluation further led to more punitive reactions and less support at work. The results suggested that gender role expectations reinforced the traditional status quo by punishing status-quo-breakers under the threat of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-877
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022

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