Sex bias in evaluating nontraditional job applicants: Reactions to women and men's interrupted college attendance

May Ling Halim, Madeline E. Heilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Two studies indicated that being a nontraditional job applicant due to voluntary interruption of college attendance had detrimental consequences for employment evaluation. These negative reactions were more severe for women than for men. Women with interrupted attendance received the most negative responses (Studies 1 and 2). Choosing to interrupt college attendance increased perceived instability and also positively affected perceived flexibility, and these characterizations were related to evaluative outcomes (Study 2). Moreover, both instability and flexibility characterizations contributed to the gender-discrepant consequences of interrupted college attendance. Female applicants were rated more negatively on flexibility characterizations than were male applicants. Furthermore, although there were no gender differences in ratings of instability, instability ratings were found to negatively impact evaluations of female applicants, but not male applicants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2330-2340
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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