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The Effects of Caregiving Choices on Subsequent Choices for the Self
March 31 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT
Part of the Lubar Research Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr. Kelley Gullo Wight, Indiana University
Many consumers are caregivers who often choose for dependents (e.g., children). Yet those caregiving choices do not occur in isolation, often being intermixed with choices for themselves. This research examines how choices made for children influence parents’ subsequent self-choices. While prior work focuses on choices for others (self) as based on other-needs (self-needs), the authors theorize regarding when and why self-choices involve consideration of other-needs. Five studies, including a nursery school field study, test the effect of choosing for a child on parents’ self-choices, focusing on the role of potentially sharing self-choices with one’s child. Potential sharing increased parents’ likelihood of making an unhealthy subsequent self-choice if they first made a healthy choice for their child. This effect was driven by present-focused concerns about whether one’s child would eat and enjoy healthy options chosen for them. This effect was mitigated when parents instead had a future-focused parenting motivation. Additionally, this effect was mitigated after making an initial choice for the child that was (a) unhealthy or (b) healthy but relatively liked by the child. This research contributes to understanding how choices for others shape choices for the self, focusing on the key roles of caregiving and sharing.