Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Child Development

Committee Chair(s)

Don C. Carter


Don C. Carter


Joan Eowden


Jay Schvaneveldt


This study was done to determine whether maternal employment affected the child's perception of male roles. The study was designed to see if the child viewed the male in a more negative or positive way or if he perceived the male as taking more instrumental or expressive roles when the child's mother was employed. The hypotheses predicted that there would be no difference in the children's perceptions of male roles between mother-employed and mother-not-employed groups, and that there would also be no difference between the sexes on children's perceptions of male roles .

The questionnaire was designed with some parts adapted from questionnaires used by Kagan and Lemkin (1960) and Aldous (1 967). The questionnaire made use of drawings of family members which the children pointed to in response to questions about adult roles and sex role perceptions.

The children were from Cedar City, Utah . Twenty were children of employed mothers , and 20 were children of non-employed mothers . There were ten girls and ten boys in the employed group and the same in the non-employed group.

The data did not permit rejection of the four null hypotheses. There was no significant difference found, with girls or with boys, on the frequency of negative and positive expression of attitudes on male role perception tests of children of employed and non-employed mothers . There was also no difference between the sexes on the frequency of instrumental and expressive responses between the employed and nonemployed groups.

Each question was tested by chi square to determine if the distribution was due to chance. On only one question was the probability of a chance distribution rejected. The question dealt with who was the nicest between the mother and the father. When boys' mothers were employed, they viewed the father as the nicest, whereas girls viewed the father as being the nicest when the mother was not employed. When the results were analyzed With all the girls in one group and all of the boys in a different group without regard to maternal employment, some interesting differences were found. The boys perceived the father in a significantly more positive way than did the girls. This was a T-score test which was significant at the .01 level. The boys also viewed the father as taking many more expressive roles than the girls. This was significant at the . 05 level. It was concluded that sex had a greater effect on the child's perceptions of male roles than did maternal employment. (98 pages)