The effects of a training module portraying sex bias and sex-role stereotyping in psychotherapy on counselor trainee attitudes toward women

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Steier, Frederick A.
Hayes, Sue E.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects that a training module on sex bias and sex-role stereotyping in the counseling milieu would have upon attitudes toward women held by graduate counselor trainees. Attitudes of the experimental group were compared with attitudes of control subjects who received no treatment.The research was planned to answer two questions:(1) Is there a significant difference in attitudes toward between an experimental group who received the training module and a control group who did not receive the module?(2) Is there a significant difference between attitudes expressed by male subjects and attitudes expressed by female subjects?Twenty-eight male and twenty-seven female graduate students enrolled in counselor education courses with Ball State University-Europe were assigned randomly on the basis of sex to either the experimental or control group. All of the subjects were actively pursuing degree programs 1n counseling.The experimental group received a module which consisted of five phases: introduction, relaxation/fantasy, role-playing, women integration/generalization, and summary. The module was designed to help counselor trainees understand how sex bias and sex-role stereotyping influence the counseling relationship. The no-treatment control subjects attended their regularly scheduled classes.All volunteer counselor trainees completed the short version of the Attitudes toward Women Scale (Spence, Helmreich, and Stapp, 1973) one week after the experimental group received the module. The Attitudes toward Women Scale originally was developed by Spence and Helmreich (1972) as an objective paper and pencil instrument and has frequently been used to measure attitudes toward the rights and roles of women.Statistical processing of the data consisted of a two-way analysis of variance method of unweighted means. The F ratio was computed at the p<.05 level of confidence between (a) experimental and control groups, and (b) males and females using group mean scores on the short version of the Attitudes toward Women Scale. There was no significant difference between the experimental and control groups on the obtained dependent variable scores. There was a significant difference for the moderator variable sex of subject. Male counselor trainees scored significantly lower or more "traditional" in their attitudes toward the rights and roles of women in society than did the female counselor trainees.The results were discussed in terms of the difficulty in achieving change in attitudes with short-term interventions, the need for long-term follow-up, and recommendations for future research.