Journal of Undergraduate Research


psychology of gender course, student attitudes


Harold B. Lee Library


Ambivalent sexism is present in U.S. university students (Chrisler, Gorman, Marvan, & Johnston-Robledo, 2013) and is a combination of both hostile sexism (a direct antipathy towards woman) and benevolent sexism (seemingly positive beliefs and actions based on gender stereotypes; Glick & Fiske, 1996). Ambivalent sexism is associated with justifying sexual assault and placing blame on victims (Koepke, Eyssel, & Bhoner, 2014). Similarly, high levels of sexual prejudice, or negative attitudes towards others based on sexual orientation, and rigid views of masculine gender roles, are associated with increased aggression and anger towards members of the LGBTQ+ community, hate crimes, and other antigay behaviors (Parrott, 2009; Herek, 2000). Previous studies have measured changes in student attitudes related to gender and found a decrease in levels of sexist and prejudiced attitudes after taking related psychology courses (Pettijohn & Walzer, 2008; Livosky, Pettijohn, & Capo, 2008). While these studies were conducted at religious institutions, the effect of these courses on levels of religiosity were not measured. The present study sought to replicate and extend this research. Our study was conducted at a private, religious university and measured differences in gender role ideologies, levels of ambivalent sexism, and sexual prejudice in students enrolled in a psychology of gender course compared to students enrolled in a writing within psychology course (e.g., control group). Religiosity was also measured. We predicted that compared to the control group, students in the psychology of gender course would have decreased levels of sexism and sexual prejudice, expanded views of gender roles, but steady levels of religiosity.