The detrimental effects of sexism on women's professional lives are well known. However, what is still under-investigated is whether women would all be affected to the same extent by exposure to sexist manifestations in the workplace, or individual variables, such as ideological standpoints, moderate women's reactions to such events. We conducted two experimental vignette studies aimed to analyze the relations between sexism and women's psychological distress. In Study 1, performed with 179 Italian adult women (M-age = 24.17, SD = 9.45), exposure to a hostile sexist message and to a benevolent sexist message fostered participants' anxiety and depression. The effects of hostile sexist message were significantly stronger than the effects of benevolent sexist message. In Study 2, performed with 514 Italian adult women (M-age = 24.80, SD = 7.30), we confirmed the links above. Moreover, we showed that the individual level of sexism (that had negative associations with the dependent variables) partially buffered them: The effects on anxiety and depression of exposure to a hostile sexist message were stronger among participants with low versus individual levels of hostile sexism. Analogously, the effects of exposure to a benevolent sexist message were stronger among participants with low versus individual levels of benevolent sexism. Strengths, limitations, and possible developments of this research are discussed.

The Palliative Function of Sexism: Individual Sexism Buffers the Relationship Between Exposure to Workplace Sexism and Psychological Distress

Spaccatini, F;
2021

Abstract

The detrimental effects of sexism on women's professional lives are well known. However, what is still under-investigated is whether women would all be affected to the same extent by exposure to sexist manifestations in the workplace, or individual variables, such as ideological standpoints, moderate women's reactions to such events. We conducted two experimental vignette studies aimed to analyze the relations between sexism and women's psychological distress. In Study 1, performed with 179 Italian adult women (M-age = 24.17, SD = 9.45), exposure to a hostile sexist message and to a benevolent sexist message fostered participants' anxiety and depression. The effects of hostile sexist message were significantly stronger than the effects of benevolent sexist message. In Study 2, performed with 514 Italian adult women (M-age = 24.80, SD = 7.30), we confirmed the links above. Moreover, we showed that the individual level of sexism (that had negative associations with the dependent variables) partially buffered them: The effects on anxiety and depression of exposure to a hostile sexist message were stronger among participants with low versus individual levels of hostile sexism. Analogously, the effects of exposure to a benevolent sexist message were stronger among participants with low versus individual levels of benevolent sexism. Strengths, limitations, and possible developments of this research are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1534684
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