Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Never-married women face social stigma, researchers find

Date:
March 23, 2010
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers examined the familial and societal messages given to women who are not married by their mid-30's. Although the number of single women has increased, the stigma associated with being single at that age has not diminished, according to the women in this study.

In 2009, approximately 40 percent of adults were single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In a new study a University of Missouri researcher examined the familial and societal messages given to women who are not married by their mid-30's. Although the number of single women has increased, the stigma associated with being single at that age has not diminished, according to the women in this study.

Related Articles


"We found that never-married women's social environments are characterized by pressure to conform to the conventional life pathway," said Larry Ganong, co-chair of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. "This pressure was manifested in women feeling highly visible and invisible. Heightened visibility came from feelings of exposure and invisibility came from assumptions made by others."

Ganong and Elizabeth Sharp, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University, conducted 32 interviews with middle-class, never-married women who felt that considerable attention was directed at them because of their age and single status. They felt heightened visibility in situations such as bouquet tosses at weddings. These events brought about unwanted, intrusive questions. Feeling invisible, on the other hand, was likely when others made assumptions that they were married and had children or when they had to justify their singlehood. These interactions made them feel that their actual lives weren't important or went unnoticed.

Specifically, single women's social worlds include:

  • Awareness of shifting reality as they become older; for example, the shrinking pool of eligible men and increased pregnancy risks.
  • Reminders that they are on different life paths than most women when others inquire about their single status and during events, including social gatherings and weddings.
  • Feelings of insecurity and displacement in their families of origin when parents and siblings remark about their singlehood and make jokes or rude comments.

The visibility and invisibility factors were impacted by age, according to Ganong. The mid-20's through mid-30's is a time of intense contemplation and concern for single women regarding their future family trajectories. Women older than 35 tend to be content with being single and don't express as much dissatisfaction as do younger women. Women ages 25-35 felt the most stigma, which may be attributed to the fact that being single is more acceptable before age 25. After reaching that age, they feel more scrutinized by friends, family members and others.

"Mainstream media also enforce these ideas," Ganong said. "For example, shows like 'Sex and the City,' which portray female protagonists who are hyper-focused on finding men, and end with the majority of those characters getting married, are popular."

Ganong has a joint appointment in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. The study will be published in the Journal of Family Issues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I'm a Loser, I'm Not Married, Let's Just All Look at Me. Journal of Family Issues, (in press)

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Never-married women face social stigma, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323110057.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2010, March 23). Never-married women face social stigma, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323110057.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Never-married women face social stigma, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323110057.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins