• Extending Intergroup Contact Theory to Men’s Anti-Women Biases

      Earle, Megan; Department of Psychology
      Men’s exploitation of women in heterosexual relationships is commonplace, both through sexually assaulting or otherwise taking advantage of women’s bodies, and in exploiting women for domestic labour such as housework and childcare. In the current investigation, we first present evidence for the co-occurrence of men’s willingness to sexually exploit and their willingness to domestically exploit their partners, then assess predictors and emotional processes underlying such hostility. Specifically, in Chapter 2, we develop a two-dimensional scale of willingness to exploit women with male participants (Study 1a; n = 103) and provide evidence that sexual exploitation willingness and domestic exploitation willingness are indeed separate, but related, factors. In Study 1b, we perform confirmatory analysis of this measure in two additional samples (n = 129 and n = 632 respectively) and provide evidence of construct validity for the scale. Then, Study 1c (n = 281) we provide evidence for stability of the construct over time, as well as its ability to predict behavioural indicators of exploitation. In Chapter 3, we investigate predictors and emotional processes underlying anti-women hostility and willingness to exploit women drawing on intergroup contact theory. In a correlational investigation (Study 2; n = 229), we find that perceived negative experiences with women predict greater anti-women bias via greater anger toward women. We then confirm this pattern of results using an experimental manipulation in Study 3 (n = 174), finding indirect effects of anger toward women in the relation between negative contact condition (vs. control) and greater anti-women bias. Positive contact, in contrast, has little relation with more positive attitudes toward women. Finally, in a three-wave longitudinal investigation (n = 577), Study 4 presents evidence for more nuanced relations between perceived contact, anger, and anti-women hostility; the findings suggest that not only do negative contact experiences predict downstream anger toward women, but also that anger and anti-women attitudes feed into men’s perceptions of their contact experiences with women. Overall, these findings reveal that perceived negative (but not positive) contact with, and anger toward, women are particularly relevant to understanding anti-women biases in heterosexual relations and future directions for reducing anti-women hostility are discussed.