The Effects of Prior Attitudes and Attitude Importance on Attitude Change and Class Impact in Women's and Gender Studies1

Authors

  • Jeanne M. Sevelius,

    1. University of Missouri-St. Louis
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  • Jayne E. Stake

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Missouri-St. Louis
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jayne E. Stake, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63121. E-mail: jayne_stake@umsl.edu
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  • 1

    This research was supported in part by grants from the University of Missouri Research Board and Small Grants Fund. The authors thank the women's and gender studies students who participated in this research.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jayne E. Stake, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63121. E-mail: jayne_stake@umsl.edu

Abstract

Attitude change in women's and gender studies (WGS) students has been a central goal of the WGS movement since its inception. Attitude change theory stresses the crucial roles of prior attitudes and attitude importance in the effectiveness of a persuasive message. This study examined attitude change dynamics in 548 WGS students drawn from 32 United States college campuses. Results provided partial support for the following hypotheses: (a) Students with attitudes discrepant from the WGS message demonstrate more resistance to attitude change when they deem these attitudes to be more important, and (b) WGS class impact is greater among students who rate class-relevant attitudes as more important.

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