Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Rachael D. Robnett

Second Committee Member

Murray G. Millar

Third Committee Member

Jennifer L. Rennels

Fourth Committee Member

Katherine M. Hertlein

Number of Pages



Past research shows that heterosexual women who endorse benevolent sexism (a sex-role attitude) tend to be highly invested in romantic relationships (Lee, Fiske, Glick, & Chen, 2010). Consequently, they may be more likely than other women to remain in relationships that are troubled. The current study aimed to shed light on this possibility by examining whether benevolent sexism was associated with the relationship maintenance strategies that women use in troubled relationships. I presented women with a scenario of a troubled relationship and manipulated the type of sexism the male partner in the scenario endorsed. Repeated measures ANCOVA revealed that women endorsed positive relationship maintenance strategies (e.g., making interactions enjoyable) more than they endorsed relationship dissolution when the hypothetical male partner endorsed benevolent sexism. Additional analyses revealed that relationship contingent self-esteem partially mediated the association between benevolent sexism and negative relationship maintenance strategies (e.g., making the partner jealous). This finding illustrates that relationship contingent self-esteem helps to explain the association between women’s benevolent sexism and their use of maladaptive relationship maintenance strategies in troubled relationships. Practical implications focus on benevolent sexism’s ties with troubled relationships.


Ambivalent sexism; Gender norms; Interpersonal relationships; Romantic relationships; Sex role attitudes; Stereotypes


Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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