Wedding ring use studied by psychologist

April 11, 2006

A University of Alberta psychologist says people who don't wear wedding rings are more neglectful of children compared with people who do wear rings.

Social Psychologist Andrew Harrell led an experiment, during which 862 caretaker-children combinations were stealthily observed in 14 Edmonton supermarkets.

Caretaker neglect was measured according to how often the caretakers or their young charges wandered more than 10 feet from each other -- too far to prevent most accidents.

Harrell found about 14 percent of the caretakers, with or without wedding rings, lost sight of their charges at least once. However, young attractive females without rings lost sight of children 19 percent of the time, and young attractive males lost sight 25 percent of the time.

"Past research suggests the absence of a wedding ring in North American culture is indicative of a lack of emotional commitment to marriage," said Harrell, noting his study suggests it might also indicate a lack of a commitment to one's family, including the children.

Harrell recently presented his research during the 17th Annual Warren Kalbach Conference in Demography at the university.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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