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Stereotypes about the psychology degree: student sources and beliefs.

Very little research addresses the sources of stereotypes about the psychology discipline and what students think of those stereotypes. In Study I, students from a psychology careers course listed the stereotypes they had heard about psychology and the major. We then surveyed students from different sections of the course about their frequency of hearing these stereotypes from their friends/fellow students and parents/family members. Participants reported that friends/fellow students were a more frequent source of stereotype information than parents/family members, and upper division students reported more frequently hearing the stereotypes than lower division students. In Study 2, students reported minimal agreement with the stereotypes. We discuss the implications of these results for research on psychology stereotypes and for career advising.

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The field of psychology is characterized by a broad number of sub-disciplines and many linkages to other fields of study. Despite this broad range of application, students, mass media, and the lay public have a variety of stereotypes about the field of psychology and the characteristics of those who major or work in this field (Mura & Levy, 1987; Wood, Jones, & Benjamin, 1986). These stereotypes are likely to impact student perceptions, intentions, and behaviors, including whether or not they choose to major in the field and what they believe they can do with a psychology degree. Despite the prevalence and potential implications of such stereotypes, experimenters have conducted very little research on the nature, prevalence, and sources of them.

Psychology majors frequently report having an inaccurate understanding of the field, its educational requirements, and the job and career opportunities available to them (e.g., Galucci, 1997; Gutman, 1979; Nauta, 2000). The existence of these misconceptions means that psychology educators need to be concerned with accurately presenting the field and the major to their students. This would allow students to make more realistic assessments of their career options and how to best prepare for those options. However, these efforts are unlikely to change the misconceptions and stereotypes of the public or of those from other fields of study. The latter sources may be likely to offer these stereotypes to students who are thinking about majoring or have decided to major in psychology.

We could find no vocational identity and career decision-making literature that specifically addressed the role that stereotypes about the major play in student perceptions, attitudes, and decisions in any discipline. As a first step in addressing the lack of research on stereotypes about the psychology field, the goals of our research were to identify common stereotypes that psychology students have heard, assess their frequency of hearing these stereotypes from different sources, and examine how much students believe the stereotypes they have heard. We assessed how frequently students heard stereotypical views of the field from their parents/family members as well as from their friends/fellow students. Although this was exploratory research, we expected that some stereotypes might be reported more frequently from different sources and depending upon one's year in school. These hypotheses are described in more detail later.

Class Discussion of Psychology Stereotypes

The first phase of this research involved students from three online sections of a Seminar on Careers in Psychology course. In our department, this course is required for all psychology majors. The online version of the course uses several "best practices" associated with online course delivery (Brinthaupt, 2010). It is taught as a 7-week, 1-credit, pass-fail course. As part of this course, students in three sections (N = 81, 65 women, 16 men) participated in required online class discussions. The first class discussion pertained to stereotypes about psychology and the psychology major. Students began participating in this discussion forum during the first week of class. It remained open for approximately one week. Following is the beginning post (made by the course instructor) for this topic:

Before we get too far into the course, I thought it would be interesting to generate a list of "stereotypes" regarding the psychology degree. What have you heard from others about the psychology major and what you can do with a psych degree? Here are a couple of "facts" I've heard: (1) You can't do anything with a bachelor's degree in psychology. (2) To work in the field of psychology, you have to get at least a master's degree. Have you heard any others? Do you think that a certain kind of person tends to major in Psychology? How are Psychology majors different from other majors?"

Students used this opening post to discuss with their classmates the kinds of stereotypes they had heard from others about the degree and about those who choose to major in the field. The instructor did not participate in this discussion beyond the opening post. However, the instructor provided a summary post of the topic a few days after the discussion closed.

In the second phase of the study, all of the stereotypes from each student's discussion responses were gathered to form a pool of responses. Working as a group, we categorized the original pool of 99 responses by stereotypes about majors themselves, stereotypes about the degree, and miscellaneous stereotypes. We then assessed the three groups, eliminated any repetitive stereotypes, and collated synonymous beliefs. We ended with 18 individual stereotypes: five regarding usefulness of the degree, two regarding salary, five about the psychology major as a whole, and six about the types of people who major in psychology. Table 1 presents the final list.

Study 1

The research literature on stereotypes about any discipline or degree is surprisingly sparse. In fact, we were unable to find any research assessing how often students report hearing stereotypes about their major or degree in any discipline. We expected that psychology students would report often hearing most of the stereotypes that we included. After all, students generated these stereotypes for us, they are interested in or have declared psychology as a major, and they should have had ample opportunity to discuss their choice and career plans with others. We examined source, class status, and gender effects by analyzing the stereotypes that students reported having heard.

First, we explored whether students were more likely to report hearing specific stereotypes from different sources. It is possible that concerns about salary and the usefulness of the major should be more frequently heard from family members than friends/fellow students. Family members have a vested interest in students' success and are concerned with the ability of students to support themselves (e.g., not moving back home after graduating). According to career identity development research, parents and family members influence student career commitment and openness to different careers (e.g., Berrios-Allison, 2005; Leal-Muniz & Constantine, 2005; Marrs, Barb, & Ruggiero, 2007). Family members can also affect the clarity and stability of college students' vocational identity and career decision-making (Hargrove, Creagh, & Burgess, 2002). Bergee, Coffman, Demorest, Humphreys, and Thornton (2001) found that the strongest influences on music education students' career choices were parents and high school music educators.

Peers can also exert an important influence on the academic major and career decision making of college students (e.g., Anderson, 2005; Mudhovozl, 2010). On the other hand, friends/fellow students may be more concerned with their peers' short-term, immediate growth and development than students' future career prospects and stability. Of course, they also are less likely to need to support their friends financially in the future.

Alternatively, aspects of the major as a whole and the types of people who choose to major in psychology should be more often discussed with friends/fellow students than family members. In general, students are likely to have more frequent contact with their friends/fellow students in college than with their family members. Friends/fellow students are also more likely to be exposed to or have knowledge of other career options and the kinds of students who major in other disciplines. Once they begin college, family members might resist being or have fewer opportunities to be overly directive about students' career choices and decisions about majors.

Second, with regard to class status, it is possible that lower division students (i.e., freshmen and sophomores) would be more likely to hear a wide variety of psychology-related stereotypes than upper division students (i.e., juniors and seniors). It may be that when students are thinking about declaring or have just declared a major, this is the time when they are most likely to hear or listen to stereotypes related to that choice. If lower division students have decided on their major more recently than upper division students, then it should be more likely that they would hear stereotypes from others.

On the other hand, there are several reasons to think that upper division students might be more likely to report heating stereotypes about the major than lower division students. First, upper division students might have greater exposure to different professors and more core and elective courses in the major than lower division students. It is possible that this would increase their exposure to discussion of career options and related perceptions of those options. Second, upper division students should have greater contact with fellow majors than lower division students. Third, the former students might also have more career discussions with family and friends the closer they are to graduation (e.g. "what are you going to do when you graduate?"). Fourth, upper division students are likely to engage in more career planning (e.g., visiting the campus career center, attending career fairs, visiting graduate schools) than lower division students. This might increase the visibility and frequency of hearing a wide variety of psychology stereotypes.

Finally, with regard to gender differences, because psychology is a female-dominated major and profession (Howard et al., 1986), male students who express an interest in the field may be more likely to hear stereotypes than female students. This might be the case if friends or family members are questioning the choice and use stereotypes to support their questioning. Also, certain categories of stereotypes might vary in frequency of being heard. For example, if men are more concerned with salary (Subich, Cooper, Barrett, & Arthur, 1986), then they may report more frequently hearing salary-related stereotypes than women. According to research on gender differences, men who major in psychology may have different personality traits, empathy scores, and gender role identification than women who major in the field (Harton & Lyons, 2003; Lackland & De Lisi, 2001; Marrs et al. 2007; McCray, King, & Bailly, 2005). Such findings might correspond to differences in hearing certain stereotypes about the major.

Method

Participants. Respondents were 95 students (80 women, 15 men) from three sections of the Seminar on Careers in Psychology course (Careers Seminar) described earlier. Of these, 86 were psychology majors, and 9 were non-majors (either psychology minors or taking the class out of personal interest). In terms of student classification, there were 9 freshmen, 21 sophomores, 32 juniors, and 33 seniors.

Materials and Procedure. Respondents completed the anonymous survey online during the first week of the course. The survey, created specifically for this study, consisted of two parts. In the first part, students rated each of the 18 stereotypes in terms of "how often have you heard the following from your friends or fellow students?" In the second part, they rated the stereotypes in terms of "how often have you heard the following from your parents or family members (e.g., siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents)?" Items were rated on a 5-point scale (1 = never, 2 = rarely, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = very often).

Results and Discussion

Table 1 presents the descriptive statistics for the student ratings of the psychology stereotypes, sorted by friends/fellow students and parents/family members. Students reported not hearing most of the stereotypes very often. Only five of the 36 means reached or exceeded the midpoint of the scale (3 = sometimes) for either source. The students reported being least likely to hear items within the psychology major and types of people who major in psychology stereotype categories. Only 1 of the 22 means for these categories reached or exceeded the midpoint of the rating scale for either source.

To evaluate the differences between sources for each of the 18 stereotypes, we conducted a series of paired-samples t tests. According to these tests, 10 of the 18 stereotypes differed significantly. As Table 1 shows, where source differences arose, respondents were more likely to report hearing stereotypes from their friends/fellow students than from their family members. This occurred across each of the general stereotype categories.

Our next set of analyses examined possible differences in class status in stereotype frequency. We conducted 2 X 4 repeated-measures ANOVAs on the 18 items. The repeated-measures factor was the stereotype source (i.e., friends/fellow students, parents/ family members) and the between-subjects factor was class status (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior). Reflecting the previously reported t-test results, there were several source main effects. In addition, most of the items showed significant class status main effects. Table 2 presents the descriptive statistics by class status. According to the table, upper division students (particularly seniors) reported heating specific stereotypes more often than the lower division students.

The analyses indicated only two significant source X class status interactions, for "Psychology is not suitable as a major" (item 9), F(1,91) = 3.27, p = .05, [eta][[??].sup.2] = .09, and "Working with crazy people will make you go crazy" (item 13), F(1,91) = 3.16,p = .05, [eta][[??].sup.2] = .09. In both cases, students reported hearing the stereotypes from friends/ peers more often as they progressed in class status. However, the pattern was not linear when considering parents/family as sources. In particular, freshman showed a greater tendency than sophomores to hear these stereotypes from their parents/family.

We examined possible gender differences in stereotype frequency for our final set of analyses by conducting source X gender between-subjects ANOVAs on each of the 18 items. As previously reported, there were several source main effects. There was only one gender main effect: men (M = 1.38, SD = .17) reported more often heating the stereotype "People who major in psychology are far crazier than the people they treat" than did women (M = 0.92, SD = .15), F(1,93) = 4.18, p = .04, [eta][[??].sup.2] = .04.

In addition, we found two source X gender interactions: "It is impossible to get a job in the field of psychology with a bachelor's degree, and still tough with a master's degree" (item 4) (F(1,93) = 5.77, p = .02, [eta][[??].sup.2] = .06) and "If you major in psychology, you have to focus on a specific area and cannot study the field of Psychology as a whole" (item 10) (F(1,93) = 6.96, p = .01, [eta][[??].sup.2] = .07). Men were more likely to report hearing the item 4 stereotype from their friends/fellow students (M = 3.19, SD = 1.15) than from their parents/family members (M = 2.48, SD = 1.33), whereas women were equally likely to hear it from both sources ([M.sub.F] = 2.66, [SD.sub.F] = 1.24; [M.sub.p] = 2.57, [SD.sub.p] = 1.51). For item 10, men were again more likely to report hearing the stereotype from their friends/fellow students (M = 2.29, SD = 1.22) than from their parents/family members (M = 1.71, SD = 1.11), whereas women were equally likely to hear it from both sources (Friends: M = 1.77, SD = 1.05; Parents: M = 1.87, SD = 1.29).

In summary, participants reported that friends/fellow students were a more frequent source of stereotype information than parents/ family members. In addition, upper division students reported more frequently heating stereotypes than lower division students. Finally, there were very few gender differences in frequency of hearing stereotypes.

There is some research that indirectly supports the finding that students reported heating more stereotypes from their friends/ fellow students than their family members regardless of category. Although they did not look at peers, Marts et al. (2007) found that parents/family had less of an influence on psychology students' decisions to major in the field than they did on students majoring in other fields. There are several possible reasons why we found friends/fellow students to be more frequent sources of stereotypes than parents/family members. First, college students may have more regular contact with their friends/fellow students than with their family members. Second, college students' friends/fellow students may have more influence than family members over their personal growth and development. Third, because their friends/fellow students are themselves choosing majors and justifying those choices to others, they may be more likely than family members to understand the different career options associated with particular majors. The present data do not provide insight into which of these possibilities is most likely nor whether students are likely to believe one source more than another. Future research could help to clarify these issues.

Regarding class status, there are several possible reasons why upper division students were more likely to report heating stereotypes about the major than lower division students. First, as they progress through the curriculum, upper division students will be exposed to more and different professors as well as more core and elective courses in the major than compared to lower division students (Rajecki, Williams, Appleby, Jeschke, & Johnson, 2005). This will likely increase their exposure to discussion of career options. Second, upper division students may have greater contact with fellow majors than lower division students. In addition, because they are closer to graduation, upper division students might have more career discussions with family and friends. Finally, upper division students are probably more likely to engage in more career planning than lower division students. All of these factors could account for the increased frequency of hearing psychology stereotypes as one's class status changes. Again, future research could determine which of these factors is associated with the frequency of hearing the stereotypes.

There were no consistent gender differences in the frequency of hearing a variety of psychology-related stereotypes. Although researchers report gender differences in reasons for selecting psychology as a major (e.g., Marrs et al. 2007; McCray et al., 2005), according to our results having different reasons for choosing psychology might not be associated with a differential frequency of heating stereotypes associated with the field. Researchers suggest that gender stereotypes regarding specific careers or academic disciplines are becoming less pronounced. For example, fewer gender differences have been found more recently than in the past regarding stereotypes about learning and math ability (Hyde, Fennema, & Lamon, 1990) and attitudes about specific genders in the workplace (Hyde, 2005). According to this research, gender may be a less important consideration now than in the past when students consider their career plans. It may be the case that, although they are in the minority among psychology majors, male students are not particularly prone to hearing more or different stereotypes than female students. Among students who major in psychology, the discipline may be becoming less associated with a specific gender. Of course, it may also be the case that the specific stereotypes used in this study did not permit some gender differences to emerge.

Why do students report so infrequently hearing most of the stereotypes? One possibility for this pattern is that the respondents were more likely to discuss their major and career plans with their fellow majors, who themselves might be less likely to mention the primarily negative stereotypes. It may also matter from which of their peers that students hear stereotypes. For example, hearing stereotypical depictions of psychology from non-majors might be less believable or influential than hearing stereotypes from fellow psychology majors. Future research could assess the relative credibility of stereotypes that students hear from different friends/fellow students. Such research could compare differences in the nature and frequency of stereotypes mentioned by friends/fellow students who are also psychology majors to those who are not. Another interesting research question is how often students have heard any of the stereotypes from their psychology professors and advisors.

Finally, in addition to the source, class status, and gender differences examined in this study, we might assess when students actually declared their major. The nature and amount of stereotypes students hear could be related to how recently they have declared their major.

Study 2

According to the results of Study 1, there are several interesting questions regarding stereotypes of the psychology degree and the ways that students report hearing about those stereotypes. Our next step involved assessing the extent to which psychology students actually believe these stereotypes. Some stereotype categories should be more believable than others. For example, most college students are likely to be concerned about their future salary and the requirements for finding a good job. If true, then the salary and usefulness of the degree stereotypes categories should be more believable than categories such as the psychology major and the types of people who major in psychology. In fact, the latter categories are probably more likely to induce defensiveness or justification efforts on the part of students than the former categories.

In terms of class status, upper division students might find most of the stereotypes less believable than lower division students, assuming that juniors and seniors are more informed about career and academic options and requirements. On the other hand, once students are more informed about options and requirements, they might see certain stereotypes (e.g., salary, usefulness of the degree) as more valid than less informed students. Thus, we expected to find some class status differences in the extent to which students agreed with the stereotypes. Based on the results of Study 1, we did not expect significant gender differences in the believability of the stereotypes.

Method

Participants. Respondents were 99 students (79 women, 20 men) from three sections of the Careers Seminar. Of these, 91 were psychology majors, and 8 were non-majors (either psychology minors or taking the class out of personal interest; 5 women, 3 men). In terms of student classification, there were 9 freshmen, 26 sophomores, 38 juniors, and 26 seniors.

Materials and Procedure. Respondents completed the anonymous survey online during the first week of the course. They rated the extent that they personally agreed or disagreed with each of the 18 stereotypes used in Study 1. Items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree).

Results and Discussion

One-sample t-tests evaluated the extent that students agreed or disagreed with the psychology stereotypes. The test was significant for 17 of the 18 items (see Table 3). For all but one of these items, students rated their belief significantly below the scale midpoint. Students rated one stereotype, "To really make good money in the field of psychology you have to get a master's degree" (item 7), significantly above the scale midpoint. Finally, students rated one stereotype near the scale midpoint (neither disagree nor agree), "You can't get good paying jobs with just a bachelor's degree in psychology" (item 6). In other words, as we expected, students were more likely to agree with the salary-related than with other stereotypes. Also, as we expected, students tended to strongly disagree with most of the psychology major and type of people who major in psychology stereotypes (see Table 3).

Consideration of the class status variable revealed no significant differences for 17 of the 18 items. The ANOVA was significant for the item "If you major in Psychology you will have to write a lot of papers and teachers grade so hard that it is very difficult to pass" (item 8), F(3,95)= 3.449,p = .020, [eta][[??].sup.2] = .098. In particular, seniors (M = 1.58, SD = .643) were least likely to believe this stereotype, whereas sophomores (M = 2.31, SD = .884) were most likely to believe it.

There are several possible reasons why students disagreed with most of the stereotypes. First, because the stereotypes are primarily negative, students might be motivated to defend or justify their choice of major by disagreeing with those stereotypes. It is interesting that the salary stereotypes are more neutral or factual in tone and that students were less likely to disagree with these items. Second, once students decide to become a major, they may acquire more information about the nature of the field and the career options within that major. Third, it is possible that students who more strongly believed the stereotypes have changed their major to something else and did not participate in this study.

There was very little evidence that lower and upper division students differed in the tendency to believe individual stereotypes. This seems to suggest that students who major in psychology have similar beliefs about the career and academic options and requirements of the field, regardless of when they declare their major. We did not collect data about when the participants declared their major, so this possibility will need to be examined in future research. The tendency to not believe the stereotypes held across the different categories assessed in this study.

Summary and Concluding Discussion

The purpose of this research was to identify the types of stereotypes that psychology students hear, how often they hear them, whom they hear them from, and how strongly they believe those stereotypes. Researchers have shown that family and friends both can impact students' career choices (Bank, Slavings, & Biddle, 1990; Hargrove et al., 2002). The results of the studies provide new insight into the role that different sources play in conveying stereotypes about the psychology degree and field. However, there are some limitations of this research that must be considered. For example, with regard to the sources of stereotypes, we failed to distinguish between friends/fellow students who were psychology majors and those who were not. Future research might compare differences in the nature, frequency, and relative credibility of stereotypes mentioned between the two. A second source limitation is that participants did not indicate the extent to which their parents/family members or friends/fellow students tried to convince them to change their major. When others question a student's choice of major, their efforts to persuade the student to change might increase the likelihood of both general and specific stereotype usage. This would also be an interesting question for future research.

There are also other possible sources of stereotype information that we did not assess in this research. For example, students and the lay public are likely to obtain such information through a variety of mass media outlets, including movies, books, and news stories (e.g., Klin & Lemish, 2008). Students in the Careers Seminar course occasionally report anecdotes of hearing stereotypical information from their professors, both within and outside of the psychology department. This raises the possibility that faculty members may affect the attitudes and beliefs of students about the field (Guimond, 1999). Additionally, the majority of the stereotype information in this research came from psychology majors or minors. Assessing stereotype information about the psychology field from students in other majors would be interesting. Asking psychology students to open-endedly describe the sources from which they hear different stereotypes would also be potentially valuable. Additional research is warranted on the nature, frequency, and believability of these kinds of sources of information about the discipline.

The stereotypes themselves were mainly negative. This could account for the lower scores on agreeability in Study 2, as participants who have already declared psychology as a major may be more likely to defend or justify their choice. Future research could generate positive stereotypes about psychology majors and the field (e.g., "psychology majors are better critical thinkers than other majors" or "psychology majors have better social skills than other majors") and assess the source and agreement patterns among those stereotypes. It would be interesting to examine whether others who are not in psychology are more likely to mention positive than negative stereotypes to students who are majoring or thinking of majoring in psychology. We speculate that much higher levels of psychology major agreement would appear if the stereotypes were positive in nature.

Admittedly, the stereotypes used in these studies differ in their degree of accuracy. Some of them (e.g., "you can't do anything in psychology without a Ph.D.") are easily proven false, whereas it is harder to determine the accuracy of some of the others (e.g., "people who major in psychology are nosy and in other peoples' business all the time"). However, we were not concerned in these studies with the truth of the stereotypes, but rather with the sources of and student beliefs about those perceptions. Additional research might examine the truth of these (or other) stereotypes and how stereotype accuracy might affect the believability of those stereotypes.

In terms of career advising, more attention might be devoted to discussing degree and field stereotypes with upper division than lower division students. If the former students are heating these stereotypes more often than the latter students, then teachers and advisors might tailor their efforts toward those stereotypes. That is, advisors could ask their students about the stereotypes they have heard and then help the students to process and understand those stereotypes. Alternatively, textbook authors and instructors might want to discuss the nature of psychology stereotypes in the introductory course. An earlier exposure to stereotypes and information about the accuracy of them could allow students to make more educated judgments about whether to major in the field. Assessing the effect on students' stereotype agreement after participating in a Careers Seminar course would provide important information about the content and effectiveness of that course.

In summary, we have identified interesting patterns associated with psychology stereotypes and student perceptions of those stereotypes. Perhaps more importantly, we have illustrated the wide range of additional psychology stereotype research questions that could be addressed. We intend to collect data on some of these questions in the future and hope that other researchers find this topic worthwhile.

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Thomas M. Brinthaupt, Professor of Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU); Victoria E. Counts, M.A., received her degree in Clinical Psychology from MTSU and Jennifer R. Hurst, B.S., current graduate student in the Experimental Psychology masters program at MTSU.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Thomas M. Brinthaupt at tom.brinthaupt@mtsu.edu.
Table 1
Descriptive Statistics for Psychology Stereotypes by Source
Friends/Fellow Students Parents/Family Members

Psychology Stereotype                              M      SD       M

Usefulness of the degree
1. You can't do anything in psychology with a    3.21    1.26    2.60
   bachelor's degree.
2. To do anything in psychology you have to      3.56    1.20    2.81
   have at least a master's degree.
3. You can't do anything in psychology without   2.59    1.26    2.28
   a Ph.D.
4. It is impossible to get a job in the field    2.89    1.23    2.53
   of psychology with a bachelor's degree, and
   still tough with a master's degree.
5. Psychology is a dead end field with no job    2.08    1.27    1.87
   opportunities.

Salary
6. You can't get good paying jobs with just a    3.37    1.28    2.74
   bachelor's degree in psychology.
7. To really make good money in the field of     3.42    1.23    2.80
   psychology you have to get a master's
   degree.

The Psychology Major
8. If you major in psychology you will have to   2.01    1.16    1.66
   write a lot of papers and teachers grade so
   hard that it is very difficult to pass.
9. Psychology is not suitable as a major.        1.81    1.11    1.77
10. If you major in psychology, you have to      2.00    1.15    1.80
    focus on a specific area and cannot study
    the field of Psychology as a whole.
11. If you major in psychology you can only do   2.32    1.25    2.15
    counseling or something medically related.
12. Majoring in psychology is taking the easy    2.05    1.28    1.62
    way out of school. There is easy
    coursework and it is mostly an easy major
    with an easy A.
Types of People who Major in Psychology
13. Working with crazy people will make you go   2.59    1.42    2.19
    crazy.
14. People who major in psychology have a        1.95    1.21    1.78
    history of mental illness.
15. People who major in situation they are in.   3.62    1.19    2.67
    psychology are constantly analyzing
    everyone around them and every
16. People who major in psychology know all      2.44    1.11    2.20
    the answers to everybody's problems.
17. People who major in psychology are far       2.36    1.29    1.88
    crazier than the people they treat.
18. People who major in psychology are nosy      2.21    1.17    1.99
    and in other people's business all the
    time.

Psychology Stereotype                             SD     t-value

Usefulness of the degree
1. You can't do anything in psychology with a    1.40     4.03 *
   bachelor's degree.
2. To do anything in psychology you have to      1.52     5.07 *
   have at least a master's degree.
3. You can't do anything in psychology without   1.40      1.87
   a Ph.D.
4. It is impossible to get a job in the field    1.43     4.45 *
   of psychology with a bachelor's degree, and
   still tough with a master's degree.
5. Psychology is a dead end field with no job    1.27      2.81
   opportunities.

Salary
6. You can't get good paying jobs with just a    1.38     4.02 *
   bachelor's degree in psychology.
7. To really make good money in the field of     1.40      1.56
   psychology you have to get a master's
   degree.

The Psychology Major
8. If you major in psychology you will have to   1.09     2.84 *
   write a lot of papers and teachers grade so
   hard that it is very difficult to pass.
9. Psychology is not suitable as a major.        1.30      0.34
10. If you major in psychology, you have to      1.21      1.55
    focus on a specific area and cannot study
    the field of Psychology as a whole.
11. If you major in psychology you can only do   1.30      1.21
    counseling or something medically related.
12. Majoring in psychology is taking the easy    1.10     3.53 *
    way out of school. There is easy
    coursework and it is mostly an easy major
    with an easy A.
Types of People who Major in Psychology
13. Working with crazy people will make you go   1.26     3.50 *
    crazy.
14. People who major in psychology have a        1.14      1.36
    history of mental illness.
15. People who major in situation they are in.   1.40      7.11
    psychology are constantly analyzing
    everyone around them and every
16. People who major in psychology know all      1.23      1.95
    the answers to everybody's problems.
17. People who major in psychology are far        1.2     3.85 *
    crazier than the people they treat.
18. People who major in psychology are nosy      1.29      1.92
    and in other people's business all the
    time.

Note. N = 95. * p < ** .05 p < .01, ** p < .001.

Table 2
Frequency of Stereotypes by Class Status

                  Freshman n=9      Sophomore n=21    Junior n=32
                  M (SD)            M (SD)            M (SD)

Usefulness of
Degree
1                 2.44 (.339)       2.19 (.222) (a)   2.95 (.180) (b)
2                 3.11 (.354)       2.33 (.232) (a)   3.20 (.188) (b)
3                 2.50 (.324)       1.86 (.212) (b)   2.17 (.172) (b)
4                 2.39 (.357)       1.91 (.223) (a)   2.80 (.189) (b)
5                 1.67 (.353)       1.60 (.231)       1.91 (.187)

Salary
6                 2.83 (.318)       2.12 (.208) (a)   3.16 (.169) (b)
7                 2.94 (.341)       2.31 (.223) (a)   3.13 (.181) (b)

The Psychology
Major
8                 1.94 (.307)       1.41 (.201) (a)   1.73 (.163)
9                 1.72 (.334)       1.33 (.219) (a)   1.64 (.18)
10                2.00 (.306)       1.19 (.200) (a)   1.89 (.162) (b)
11                1.78 (.335)       1.64 (.219) (a)   2.23 (.177)
12                1.28 (.326) (b)   1.57 (.213) (b)   1.69 (.173)

Types of People
who Major in
Psychology
13                2.00 (.387)       1.69 (.254) (a)   2.64 (.205) (b)
14                1.56 (.336)       1.36 (.220) (a)   1.78 (.178)
15                2.78 (.354)       2.48 (.231) (a)   3.36 (.188) (b)
16                1.94 (.328)       2.05 (.215)       2.25 (.174)
17                1.67 (.344)       1.60 (.225) (a)   2.10 (.186)
18                2.28 (.362)       1.71 (.237)       2.06 (.192)

                  Senior n=33       F-Value
                  M (SD)

Usefulness of
Degree
1                 3.44 (.177) (b)   7.14 ***
2                 3.73 (.185) (b)   7.40 ***
3                 3.05 (.169) (a)   7.60 ***
4                 3.23 (.186) (b)   6.88 ***
5                 2.38 (.184)       2.80

Salary
6                 3.61 (.166) (b)   10.66 ***
7                 3.65 (.178) (b)   7.45 ***

The Psychology
Major
8                 2.18 (.161) (b)   3.25 *
9                 2.24 (.174) (b)   3.95 **
10                2.33 (.160) (b)   6.69 ***
11                2.73 (.175) (b)   5.70 ***
12                2.30 (.170) (a)   4.22 **

Types of People
who Major in
Psychology
13                2.70 (.202) (b)   4.14 **
14                2.35 (.176) (b)   4.66 **
15                3.47 (.185) (b)   4.61 **
16                2.67 (.171)       2.40
17                2.62 (.180) (b)   4.98 **
18                2.33 (.189)       1.48

Note: (a) significantly differs from (b) for item,
* p < .05, ** p < .01, ** p < .001; see Table 1 for item wording.

Table 3
Descriptive Statistics for Student Agreement with Psychology
Stereotypes

Usefulness of the degree                      Mean (SD)      t-value

1. You can't do anything in psychology with   2.30 (1.02)    -6.83 *
a bachelor's degree.

2. To do anything in psychology you have to   2.60 (1.11)    -3.64 *
have at least a master's degree.

3. You can't do anything in psychology        1.75 (0.77)    -16.10 *
without a Ph.D.

4. It is impossible to get a job in the       2.28 (0.88)    -8.00 *
field of psychology with a bachelor's
degree, and still tough with a master's
degree.

5. Psychology is a dead end field with no     1.35 (0.56)    -29.30 *
job opportunities.

Salary
6. You can't get good paying jobs with just   3.04 (1.09)    .37
a bachelor's degree in psychology.

7. To really make good money in the field     3.56 (0.92)    6.03 *
of psychology you have to get a master's
degree.

The Psychology Major
8. If you major in psychology you will have   1.97 (0.86)    -11.90 *
to write a lot of papers and teachers
grade so hard that it is very difficult
to pass.

9. Psychology is not suitable as a major.     1.34 (0.67)    -24.51

10. If you major in psychology, you have to   2.18 (0.98)    -8.28 *
focus on a specific area and cannot
study the field of Psychology as a
whole.

11. If you major in psychology you can only   1.46 (0.52)    -29.31
do counseling or something medically
related.

12. Majoring in psychology is taking the      1.25 (0.50)    -34.64 *
easy way out of school. There is easy
coursework and it is mostly an easy
major with an easy A.

Types of People who Major in Psychology
13. Working with crazy people will make you   1.68 (0.82)    -16.09 *
go crazy.

14. People who major in psychology have a     1.49 (0.69)    -21.99 *
history of mental illness.

15. People who major in psychology are        2.45 (1.07)    -5.06 *
constantly analyzing everyone around
them and every situation they are in.

16. People who major in psychology know all   1.43 (0.62)    -24.91
the answers to everybody's problems.

17. People who major in psychology are far    1.47 (0.69)    -21.99 *
crazier than the people they treat.

18. People who major in psychology are nosy   1.64 (0.823)   -16.42 *
and in other people's business all the
time.

Note. * Significant at the .001 level; test value of 3; students rated
all items using a 5-point (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree)
scale.
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Article Details
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Author:Brinthaupt, Thomas M.; Counts, Victoria E.; Hurst, Jennifer R.
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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