Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Rachael Robnett

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Rennels

Third Committee Member

Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt

Fourth Committee Member

Katherine Hertlein

Number of Pages



Romantic relationships are essential to the human experience, and gender stereotypes are so ingrained they can be automatic. In this dissertation, I address three empirical questions through both quantitative and qualitative research methods, all of which contribute to the growing body of literature on gender norms and romantic relationships. In Chapter 2, I present a mixed-methods study that examines how heterosexual men reason about benevolent sexism. Results revealed themes of equality in the workplace and men’s roles as providers. In Chapter 4 I implemented a two-study research design to understand how heterosexual women and men reason about troubled romantic relationships. Path analyses revealed that romantic attachment, benevolent sexism endorsement, and relationship-contingent self-esteem work in conjunction to influence how heterosexual women and men might maintain a troubled romantic relationship. Finally, in Chapter 6 I present a mixed-methods approach to understanding how same-sex couples reason about their surname preferences. In contrast to prior research (Clarke et al., 2008), the participants in this study were more likely to want to change their surname, although surname preferences were varied. Thematic analysis revealed themes of establishing a sense of family and how having children might influence participants’ surname preferences. Overall, the results of these three studies demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of gender norms within romantic relationships.


benevolent sexism; gender norms; LGBTQ; romantic relationships; stereotypes


Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Social Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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