The influence of some social-interpersonal variables on the perception of assertive behavior



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The present study was designed to study the effect of the level of assertiveness, sex of the speaker and attitudes, toward women of the subject in the perception of assertive behavior. 160 subjects were selected from introductory psychology classes at the the University of Houston. Subjects were all 18-22, white and selected on the basis of their score on the Attitude Toward Women Scale (Spence, et. al., 1973). Subjects were then asked to read a series of interpersonal situations in which they took the role of engaging in some imposing behavior on a friend. There was then a response from the friend varying in assertiveness which was rated as to behavioral and emotional impact by the subject. Data was analyzed using a 2 X 2 X 2 analysis of variance for the independent variables of speaker sex, level of assertive content (high or low) and subject's attitude toward women (traditional or nontraditional). Results indicated that while the high assertive responses elicited a greater self-reported behavioral change there was also an increased amount of negative emotion. It was also found that traditional males and nontraditional females were less easily influenced behaviorally than nontraditional males or traditional females. Implications for assertiveness training were discussed and it was suggested that more research needs to be directed toward determining the influence of various social-interpersonal variable on the peception of assertive behavior.