Walton, Logel et al., 2015-Values Affirmation: Reflecting on ways to incorporate values in daily life in engineering to manage stress and function well raised first-year GPA and improved academic attitudes and daily functioning among women in male-dominated engineering majors over an academic year
In small-group sessions in the fall of the first year, students in a selective engineering program read stories from male and female senior engineering students describing how they kept “balanced” by incorporating personal values in their daily lives and activities. Students watched a slideshow presentation of the stories and heard them read aloud by senior engineering students. They then wrote an essay about how they incorporated values in their lives to stay balanced, and a letter to a future first-year student describing this. As compared to a randomized control condition, this “affirmation-training” intervention, along with a social-belonging intervention, raised women’s GPA in male-dominated engineering majors over the first year, eliminating the gender gap in achievement. It also caused women in male-dominated majors to view daily adversities as less threatening over the next two weeks, immediately and in the second semester, improved women’s evaluation of their experience in engineering, and, in the second semester, improved their perceived prospects of succeeding in the field. The affirmation-training intervention also increased women’s identification with their gender group and friendships with other women.