Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Susan Gee

Abstract

Two studies extend previous findings of stereotyping (a) within the nursing context (Ganong, 1993; Ganong & Coleman, 1992, Ganong et al., 1988), and (b) in relation to female title of address (Dion, 1987; Dion & Cota, 1991; Dion & Schuller, 1991; Heilder, 1975). Against the theoretical background of person perception theory and its influence upon the therapeutic nurse client relationship, study 1 investigates the extent to which nurses' stereotype a vignetted female client on the basis of title of address. Fifty registered nurses from two hospitals rated their impressions and subsequent expectations of a vignetted client on the First Impressions Questionnaire (FIQ) and the Predicted Behavior of a Hospitalised Adult Questionnaire (PBHAQ). Three versions of the vignette corresponded to three titles of address: Ms., Miss, Mrs. Based on the previous findings of Ganong, (1993), it was predicted that title of address effects would be found. Results failed to support this prediction. However, feedback indicated that these results were potentially an artifact of the brevity of stimulus information supplied. Methodological, conceptual and theoretical implications of this finding were discussed. A second study was conducted to investigate these implications. Specifically, the impact of the level of apparent information upon a participant's ability to form and record a stereotype was investigated. Participants consisted of 116 undergraduate psychology students who were randomly assigned to one of six conditions (explicitly preferred title of address x level of apparent information). The two title of address conditions were Ms. and Mrs. The three level of apparent information conditions were basic paragraph (low), basic plus transcript (moderate), and basic plus transcript plus audio recording (high). Participants were provided with a stimulus vignette of a female and asked to rate their first impressions and expectations of the stimulus person. Measures were the same as for study 1 (i.e., FIQ & PBHAQ) with the addition of confidence ratings. On the basis of both the previous findings of Dion (1987}, and of study 1, it was predicted that title of address and level of apparent information effects would be found. While expected level of information effects were found, no title of address effects were obtained. These·-findings were interpreted as indicating (a) the salience of level of apparent information as a methodological consideration for research, and (b) the limited replicability of title of address effects. The overall conclusion was that research, both within and without stereotyping, needs to pay more attention to examining stimulus presentation and boundedness of replicability m order to build a more valid and cohesive knowledge base.

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