Examining a Gender Stereotype: Menopausal Women1


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    This research was supported by a grant from the Hewlett Corporation to Amy Marcus-Newhall and Suzanne Thompson and by an internal grant to Amy Marcus-Newhall from Scripps College. We thank Angela King, Erika Hulme, Molly McMillan, Maria Servello, and Susan Strickland for their assistance in conducting this research. We also thank Marilynn Brewer for her comments on a former draft of this article and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Portions of these studies were presented at the Western Psychological Association Conference, Los Angeles, California, March 30-April 2, 1995, and the Western Psychological Association Conference, San Jose, California, April 11-14, 1996.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Amy Marcus-Newhall, Department of Psychology, Scripps College, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Claremont, California 91711-3948. e-mail: amarcusn@scrippscol.ed.


Two studies evaluated whether there was a subtype of menopausal women and, if so, how it differed from the global gender stereotype. Study 1 had participants generate items associated with women going through menopause, midlife women, and midlife men. Results showed that there is a menopausal women stereotype, and it is mostly negative in content. Moreover, this stereotype differs from the perceptions of women in general. Study 2 examined the effects of the menopausal women stereotype by employing the illusory correlation paradigm (e.g., McConnell, Sherman, & Hamilton, 1994) and found that participants greatly overestimated the number of times that menopausal women and negative moods appeared together. This research highlights the importance of examining stereotype subtypes and subgroups