Women's Perceptions of Personal Versus Sociocultural Counseling Interventions

Cynthia E. Glidden, Terence J. Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Two videotaped simulated counseling interventions focusing on weight and body-image concerns were shown to 79 female college students. One of the interventions portrayed the counselor as attributing the weight issues to external, sociocultural causes (i.e., society's unrealistic expectations of women), whereas the other intervention showed the counselor as attributing weight issues to personal causes (i.e., poor eating habits related to a negative self-image). The women's perceptions of and preferences for the intervention were hypothesized to vary as a function of (a) traditionality of sex role attitude, (b) severity of disturbance, and (c) concern for weight and body image. It was hypothesized that women with nontraditional sex role attitudes would prefer the sociocultural intervention, whereas women with traditional sex role attitudes would prefer the personal intervention. The results obtained were opposite those hypothesized. Women with nontraditional sex role attitudes (especially those with highly nontraditional sex role attitudes) preferred the personal intervention. Women with traditional sex role attitudes preferred the sociocultural intervention. This result was more dramatic with those women for whom weight concern was a salient issue. No results were found for severity of disturbance. The results are discussed with respect to feminist counseling and changing sex role expectations in society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-62
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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