Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Adam Pazda

Second Advisor

Alexandra E. Roach

Third Advisor

Maureen Carrigan


Prior research reveals that all childless individuals are negatively stigmatized, but voluntary and involuntary childless individuals are stigmatized to differing degrees. There is a little research investigating the differences in stigma associated with childless men and women. The current study examines the differences in stigma for voluntary and involuntary childless men and women by using a series of vignettes and having participants rate the childless individuals on fourteen general characteristics. Participants were recruited from psychology and sociology courses at the University of South Carolina Aiken as well as Psychological Research on the Net through Hanover College. It was hypothesized that voluntary childless individuals would be more stigmatized than involuntary childless individuals, childless women would be more stigmatized than childless men, and the stigma towards voluntary childless individuals would be especially pronounced for women. The hypotheses were partially supported in that voluntary childless women were perceived as being the most self-centered, but involuntary childless women were seen as having the least amount of life satisfaction as well as immaturity.