Author

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Date of Defense

8-3-2010

Graduate Advisor

Therese Macan, Ph.D.

Committee

Jim Breaugh, Ph.D.

Ekin Pellegrini, Ph.D.

Alice Hall, Ph.D.

Abstract

Discrimination against pregnant applicants may be partially explained by concerns about a pregnant employee missing work and possibly quitting (Cunningham & Macan, 2007). The purpose of the first study is to explore further the notion that pregnant applicants receive less favorable reactions during the selection process due in large part to concerns regarding potential absenteeism. This study explores whether applicants who need an equivalent amount of time off, but for different reasons, are perceived and rated similarly as a pregnant applicant. The results showed that all applicants requesting time off, regardless of reason, received less favorable hiring ratings compared to the control applicant who did not request time off. Given that everything was identical across conditions these findings indicate that absenteeism may be one of the primary concerns leading to lowered hiring ratings and not gender bias or the visual stigma of the pregnancy. This study demonstrates that qualifications and positive perceptions by a hiring manager may not be enough to overcome concerns regarding absenteeism, regardless of the reason for the request. The second study, drawing primarily from disability research, addresses whether it is beneficial for a pregnant applicant to disclose and / or discuss the pregnancy during the course of the selection process. Some advocate for disclosure and discussion as a means to alleviate surprise and draw attention away from the stigmatizing condition, while others note that it may draw unnecessary negative attention to the disabling condition and thereby distract interviewers from job related information. The data support the overall theory that if a pregnancy is visibly showing, it is likely better to be forthcoming about it during the selection process (both disclosure and discussion). However, if a pregnancy is not visibly apparent, it is likely better to not mention it during the hiring process, however if a candidate does want to be forthcoming, it is better to both disclose and discuss the pregnancy than to only disclose or only discuss.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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