Stereotypes of single and married women and men in Turkish culture

  • Nuray Sakallı UğurluEmail author
  • Beril Türkoğlu
  • Abdulkadir Kuzlak
  • Anmol Gupta


While it is natural for stereotypes of social groups to change over time and across various social contexts, there has been a lack of research investigating how marriage impacts specifically gender-based stereotypes. In Turkish culture, social status, roles, and stereotypes are highly dependent on marital status, and more so for women, who are labeled as “girls” until marriage. The present research seeks to examine how people picture men and women before and after marriage through free response. Specifically, undergraduates (N = 206) wrote down adjectives for single men, married men, single women, and married women. Adjectives were categorized using thematic analysis into stereotypes of appearance, personality traits, gender roles, and power. Single men were predominantly described with negative personality traits (e.g., womanizer, irresponsible, self-indulgent, and immature) whereas stereotypes of married men aligned more with traditional gender roles (e.g., father, breadwinner, and householder). However, participants stereotyped single and married men within similar power domains (dominant, masculine, and independent). On the other hand, single women were mainly stereotyped by their personality traits (e.g., fragile/pure) while married women were mainly described with their gender roles (e.g., self-sacrificing, mothering/nurturing) and positive personality traits (e.g., warm, mature). Additionally, participants described both single and married women as dominated, dependent, and resistant to power. Results are discussed considering sexism theory, system justification theory, and honor. Findings can be applied to understandings of how marriage may shape gender stereotypes in highly gendered, honor cultures.


Gender roles Stereotypes Single women/men Married women/men Turkish culture 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology Department (Psikoloji Bölümü)Middle East Technical University (Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi)AnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Lawrence UniversityAppletonUSA

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