University Students' Perceptions of Parents and Childless or Childfree Couples

Koropeckyj-Cox T., ÇOPUR Z. , Romano V., Cody-Rydzewski S.

JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES, vol.39, no.1, pp.155-179, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0192513x15618993
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES
  • Page Numbers: pp.155-179


Earlier studies have documented persistent negative stereotypes of childless or childfree adults, though acceptance has increased in recent decades. Recent studies have also shown negative biases against parents, especially mothers, in work-related contexts. The current study used college students' responses to hypothetical vignettes (N = 1,266) to compare perceptions of childless and childfree adults and parents using means comparisons with generalized linear modeling methods, controlling for student and vignette characteristics. Results showed that parents were perceived as warmer, but with less positive marital relationships, than those without children. Mothers were perceived as more stressed and childless men and women as more emotionally troubled, but there were few differences in work-related perceptions. Childless wives with no plans to have children were perceived as least warm, whereas husbands were perceived as least stressed. Results indicate some persistent negative stereotypes of childless adults along with negative perceptions of stress and marital strains related to parenthood.