The Relationship Between Women's Perceptions of the Campus Environment and Self-Esteem as Moderated by Women's Identity Attitudes

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Ossana, Shelly Lynne
An examination of the relationships among undergraduate women's self-esteem, perceptions of the campus environment, and women's identity attitudes (i.e., attitudes about, and identification with, women and the sociopolitical issues unique to women) was conducted. 649 female undergraduates, freshman through seniors, were surveyed in classes at the University of Maryland, College Park campus. Results indicated that Encounter (characterized by rejection of previously held stereotypical views about women and heightened awareness about the sociopolitical issues unique to women) and Immersion-Emersion (characterized by active rejection of male supremacist values and beliefs) attitudes were positively related to perceptions of gender bias in the campus environment and inversely related to self-esteem. Internalization (chararacterized by acceptance and pride in one's women's identity) attitudes were inversely related to perceptions of environmental gender bias and positively related to self-esteem. Perceptions of gender bias were inversely related to self-esteem, indicating that the more negatively one viewed oneself the more likely one was to perceive the campus environment as biased, or conversely that the more positively one viewed oneself the less likely one was to perceive inequities reflecting gender bias in the campus environment. Implications for counseling and future research are discussed.