Slimy worms or sticky kids: How caregiving tasks and gender identity attenuate disgust response

Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz, Amanda Friesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disgust is derived from evolutionary processes to avoid pathogen contamination. Theories of gender differences in pathogen disgust utilize both evolutionary psychological and sociocultural perspectives. Drawing on research that suggests that masculine and feminine gender identities are somewhat orthogonal, we examine how gender identity intersects with pathogen disgust. In addition, building on evolutionary psychological and sociocultural accounts of how caregiving and parental investment affect pathogen disgust, we present a new measure of caregiving disgust and compare its properties across gender, parental status, and political ideology with those of a conventional pathogen disgust measure. This registered report finds that how masculinity and femininity affect disgust varies by gender, disgust domain, and their intersection; that parental status effects vary by disgust domain but not gender; that reframing disgust in terms of caregiving eliminates the gender gap in disgust; and that the caregiving frame unexpectedly strengthens the relationship between disgust and political ideology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-186
Number of pages20
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Disgust
  • Gender
  • Parenthood
  • Political ideology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Slimy worms or sticky kids: How caregiving tasks and gender identity attenuate disgust response'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this