The stages of change model is a proven model of change that has been used for decades.
My previous research, based on teaching early career women scholars (Isaac, Kaatz, Lee, & Carnes, 2012), illustrated how negative performance expectations influenced by stereotype threat caused highly competent women to underperform relative to their actual abilities (Burgess, Joseph, van Ryn, & Carnes, 2012; Correll, 2004; Davies, Spencer, & Steele, 2005; Steele, 1997). Participants’ journals and discussion illustrated their response to threat by describing physiological stress responses, performance monitoring, and efforts to suppress negative thoughts and feelings (Schmader, Johns, & Forbes, 2008).
After being exposed to research on stereotype threat, our students became acutely aware of how stereotype threat undermined their performance and impacted their professional aspirations.
(Davies, Spencer, Quinn, & Gerhardstein, 2002; Davies et al., 2005)
Prochaska’s five stages of change model (2006) was incorporated to assess the success on increasing their leadership self-efficacy (“I can do it”) for three classes. Both pre- and post-questionnaires showed gains in the desired directions for leadership self-efficacy, personal mastery, self-esteem, and perceived constraints. Qualitative text analysis of weekly journals indicated that course participants applied and integrated strategies to lessen the impact of societal stereotypes into their own leadership practices. Follow-up queries via e-mail to the first two cohorts supported the enduring value of course participation among women who are at early stages of academic science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) careers.
Research has shown that even a short educational workshop can make a difference. In one study, undergraduate students in the intervention group were presented with a 45-minute narrated and interactive slideshow for education and training about implicit bias in a race context (Devine, Forscher, Austin, & Cox, 2012). Participants were told that if they were motivated to address race bias, they could learn and implement a set of simple tools. Although for the control group, implicit bias measures stayed the same, the training group showed a dramatic drop in the magnitude of their implicit bias scores that persisted through 8 weeks, especially for those who were motivated to change. There is some evidence that this drop lasted for some up to two years.
Even one training session can make a difference.
Research shows that articulating a plan makes it more likely for it to happen. The continuing education literature demonstrates that if you put a commitment in writing, you are more likely to engage in that behavior (Overton & MacVicar, 2008; Wakefield, 2003).
That is why as you go through this information, you need to do reflective writing and write down strategies as you think about them. Taking this action is the start for change – it prepares the way.
- Burgess, D. J., Joseph, A., van Ryn, M., & Carnes, M. (2012). Does stereotype threat affect women in academic medicine? Academic Medicine, 87(4), 506-512.
- Correll, S. J. (2004). Constraints into preferences: Gender, status, and emerging career aspirations. American Sociology Review, 69(1), 93-113.
- Davies, P. G., Spencer, S. J., Quinn, D. M., & Gerhardstein, R. (2002). Consuming images: How television commercials that elicit stereotype threat can restrain women academically and professionally. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(12), 1615-1628.
- Davies, P. G., Spencer, S. J., & Steele, C. M. (2005). Clearing the Air: Identity Safety Moderates the Effects of Stereotype Threat on Women’s Leadership Aspirations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(2), 276-287.
- Devine, P. G., Forscher, P. S., Austin, A. J., & Cox, W. T. L. (2012). Long-term reduction in implicit race bias: A prejudice habit-breaking intervention. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(6), 1267-1278. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.06.003
- Isaac, C., Kaatz, A., Lee, B., & Carnes, M. (2012). An educational intervention designed to increase women’s leadership self-efficacy. CBE life sciences education, 11(3), 307-322.
- Overton, G., & MacVicar, R. (2008). Requesting a commitment to change: conditions that produce behavioral or attitudinal commitment. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 28(2), 60-66.
- Schmader, T., Johns, M., & Forbes, C. (2008). An integrated process model of stereotype threat effects on performance. Psychological Review, 115(2), 336-356. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.115.2.336
- Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. The American Psychologist, 52(6), 613-629.
- Wakefield, J. C. P. M. M. C. J. M. L. J.-M. P. J. (2003). Commitment to Change Statements Can Predict Actual Change in Practice. [Article]. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 23(2), 81.