Maria Giuseppina Pacilli Stefano Pagliaro Alessandro Taurino Federica Spaccatini Ilaria Giovannelli Giuseppe Massaro Francesca Caporale

Impact of gender essentialism on heterosexuals' negative attitudes toward same-sex parenting

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We investigated whether and how endorsement of essentialist beliefs about gender affects heterosexuals' attitudes towards same-sex parenting. In Study 1, we showed that framing a (scientific) communication in terms of essentialist (vs. nonessentialist) views about gender fostered perception of same-sex parenting as unnatural, and this effect was mediated by a stronger support in favor of the traditional gender-role beliefs. In Study 2, the endorsement of a biological explanation of gender differences affected the perception of same-sex parenting as unnatural and this, in turn, impacted upon the perceived competence of samesex parents and upon a more distal consequence, such as the perceived negative consequences on children raised by same-sex parents. We discuss results in terms of the role of communication in perpetrating prejudice against same-sex parenting.


  • Gender Essentialism
  • Biological Gender Differences
  • Socio-Cultural Gender Differences
  • Attitudes Towards Same-Sex Parenting
  • Gender-Role Beliefs


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