Nursing students' stereotypes of married and unmarried pregnant clients

Authors

  • Lawrence H. Ganong,

    1. School of Nursing and the Department of Child and Family Development at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Marilyn Coleman, EdD, is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Development at the same university. Cynthia Riley, MS, RN, is an Instructor at Hannibal-LaGrange College, Hannibal, Missouri.
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  • Marilyn Coleman,

    1. School of Nursing and the Department of Child and Family Development at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Marilyn Coleman, EdD, is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Development at the same university. Cynthia Riley, MS, RN, is an Instructor at Hannibal-LaGrange College, Hannibal, Missouri.
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  • Cynthia Riley

    1. School of Nursing and the Department of Child and Family Development at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Marilyn Coleman, EdD, is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Development at the same university. Cynthia Riley, MS, RN, is an Instructor at Hannibal-LaGrange College, Hannibal, Missouri.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of information about a pregnant client's marital status on nursing students' initial perceptions of the client, attributions of group stereotypes to the client, predictions of client behavior, data sought, and verbal responses toward the client. Forty-three undergraduate nursing students from a large Midwestern university volunteered to participate. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two experimental groups, the “married client” or “unmarried client.” Subjects viewed a videotape of a nurse interviewing a pregnant client and were administered a series of questionnaires. Following this, they were asked to respond in writing to five statements made by the videotaped client. Videotapes were identical except that one group was told they were viewing an unmarried woman and the other group was told the client was married. Results indicated that students evaluated the married client more positively than the unmmarried client. Students' perceptions were consistent with several cultural stereotypes. In addition, students predicted that, if hospitalized, the unmarried client would have greater difficulty than the married client. There were no differences between groups in the information they would seek from the client or in responses towards the client.

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