The attitudes toward women scale and attitude change in college students

  • Spence J
  • Hahn E
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To determine cohort changes in gender-role attitudes, responses to the 15-item form of the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (AWS; Spence & Helmreich, 1972a, 1978) were compared for students at the same university tested in 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1992. In both males and females, members of the 1992 cohort were the most egalitarian, and members of the 1972 cohort were the least egalitarian. In all groups, women were significantly less traditional in their attitudes than men. As has been found in previous studies, detailed analyses of the data from the 1992 cohort revealed that the scale was unifactorial, but that the score distributions were skewed. There was also some indication of ceiling effects at the egalitarian end of the scale, particularly in women. The implications of these latter results for the usefulness of the AWS in current research were explored.

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  • Janet T. Spence

  • Eugene D. Hahn

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