The reactions of young adult women to negative portrayals of females in film

Mary Christine Fuller, Fordham University


This study examined reactions to and comprehension of negative portrayals of women in film. Participants were 92 women attending two small private colleges. In Phase I, participants completed: (a) the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES); (b) the Bem Sex Role Inventory (SBSRI), a measure of gender identity; (c) the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (AWS), a measure of gender role attitudes; (d) a questionnaire to assess film-viewing habits and demographic information; and (e) the Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence Scale (AIVS). During a testing phase, after viewing each film stimulus, participants completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and a brief comprehension checklist. The study hypothesized that acceptance of interpersonal violence, negative emotional responses to, and comprehension of portrayals of women in film would be associated with self-esteem, gender identity, film-viewing habits, and gender role attitudes. The hypothesis that low egalitarian gender role attitudes would be related to high acceptance of interpersonal violence was supported. A post hoc analysis revealed that high egalitarian attitudes were related to high comprehension of all messages, and positive messages alone. Likewise, frequent movie-viewing was related to low comprehension of all messages, and negative messages alone.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Womens studies|Social psychology|Motion Pictures

Recommended Citation

Fuller, Mary Christine, "The reactions of young adult women to negative portrayals of females in film" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9825871.