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ERIC Number: EJ1061905
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 69
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Two Brief Interventions to Mitigate a "Chilly Climate" Transform Women's Experience, Relationships, and Achievement in Engineering
Walton, Gregory M.; Logel, Christine; Peach, Jennifer M.; Spencer, Steven J.; Zanna, Mark P.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v107 n2 p468-485 May 2015
In a randomized-controlled trial, we tested 2 brief interventions designed to mitigate the effects of a "chilly climate" women may experience in engineering, especially in male-dominated fields. Participants were students entering a selective university engineering program. The "social-belonging intervention" aimed to protect students' sense of belonging in engineering by providing a nonthreatening narrative with which to interpret instances of adversity. The "affirmation-training intervention" aimed to help students manage stress that can arise from social marginalization by incorporating diverse aspects of their self-identity in their daily academic lives. As expected, gender differences and intervention effects were concentrated in male-dominated majors (<20% women). In these majors, compared with control conditions, both interventions raised women's school-reported engineering grade-point-average (GPA) over the full academic year, eliminating gender differences. Both also led women to view daily adversities as more manageable and improved women's academic attitudes. However, the 2 interventions had divergent effects on women's social experiences. The social-belonging intervention helped women integrate into engineering, for instance, increasing friendships with male engineers. Affirmation-training helped women develop external resources, deepening their identification with their gender group. The results highlight how social marginalization contributes to gender inequality in quantitative fields and 2 potential remedies.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada