Suppressing and Priming the Motivation for Motherhood

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Abstract

In study 1, 148 married and unmarried childless Israeli women (mean age = 25) indicated how often they think about having a child, their desired age for having a child, and justified not being mothers, with or without being primed with photographs of babies. Priming and marital status impacted the motivation for motherhood and the justifications for not being mothers. In study 2, the same procedure was used with 137 unmarried, childless Israeli women (mean age = 24) whose gender role orientation was assessed. The impact of gender role orientation and priming on the motivation for motherhood and the justifications for not being mothers were complex, with femininity playing a much greater role than masculinity. The findings were discussed in the context of the myth of motherhood and its influence on the lives of women.

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