Parenting motivation and consumer decision-making

Yexin Jessica Li, Kelly L. Haws, Vladas Griskevicius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Parenting has been a central activity throughout human history, yet little research has examined the parental care motivation system on preferences and decision-making. Because successful parenting involves caring for both a child’s immediate and long-term needs, we consider whether parenting motivation leads people to focus more on the present or on the future. A series of five experiments reveals that parenting motivation activates gender-specific stereotypes of parental roles, leading men to be more future-focused and women to be more present-focused. These shifts in temporal focus produce gender differences in temporal preferences, as manifested in intertemporal decisions (preferences for smaller, immediate rewards vs. larger, future ones) and attitudes toward a marketplace entity with inherent temporal tradeoffs (i.e., rent-to-own businesses). Reversing gender role stereotypes also reverses these gender differences, suggesting downstream effects of parenting motivation may be due, at least in part, to stereotypes about familial division of labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1137
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Yexin Jessica Li ( is an assistant professor of marketing at the KU School of Business, University of Kansas, 1654 Naismith Drive, Lawrence, KS 66045. Kelly L. Haws (kelly.haws@owen. is a professor of marketing and Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, 401 21st Avenue South Nashville, TN 37203. Vladas Griskevicius is a professor of marketing and Carlson Foundation Chair at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, 321 Nineteenth Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55435. Please address correspondence to Yexin Jessica Li. This research was supported by the University of Kansas General Research Fund. The authors are grateful to the editor, the associate editor, and the review team for their valuable feedback. Supplementary materials are included in the web appendix accompanying the online version of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Gender stereotypes
  • Intertemporal choice
  • Parenting motivation


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