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Marriage makes people appear less competent, according to study

Married people are viewed as being less competent than their single counterparts, according to the results from a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Lincoln showed 158 people pictures of the same fictional man and asked them to evaluate him.

Each time, the description accompanying the image detailing marital status and sexual orientation was different.

The results indicated that, regardless of sexual orientation, the images of the man identified as single were seen as more competent.

Mariana Pinho, a PhD student who carried out the study, presented her results to the British Psychological Society’s annual conference.

She said:

“I was extremely surprised to see the significant influence that marital status has on the attribution of competence. When our participants were advised that the subject was single, regardless of his sexual orientation, their replies revealed that marriage made him seem less competent.”

She added:

“I believe that research in this area is highly important, because it is vital to understand the impact our internal preconceptions can have on the way we approach other members of society.”

Other attitudes were revealed by the results of the study.

People rated married, heterosexual men as the most masculine and homosexual men as more feminine, regardless of marital status.

Women were also found to be more likely to regard the unknown man as friendly and be interested in his background than men.

Photo by Theophile Escargot via Flickr

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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