The impact of ethnically matched animated agents (Avatars) in the cognitive restructuring of irrational career beliefs held by young women: Diverse findings from four randomized clinical trials

Robyn L. Hacker, Amanda O. Hardy, Jacqueline Webster, Xue Zhang, John J. Horan, Robert Atkinson, Judith Homer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Believe It! program developed and evaluated by Kovalski & Horan (1999) was the first interactive, multimedia, psychological-education intervention deployed on the Internet. In a controlled study, the authors reported that the ethnically diverse cartoon models were partially successful in using cognitive restructuring to promote more reasonable career beliefs among Caucasian middle-school young women. It was not clear if the program's lack of efficacy among minority young women was due to computer literacy factors affected by SES. Subsequently, four studies explored the role of matching or mismatching the ethnicity of animated agents in a graphically enhanced program with young women receiving the cognitive restructuring treatment. Each of the studies used the same four outcome measures (Occupational Sex-Role Questionnaire, Believe It Measure, Career Beliefs Inventory, and the Career Myths Scale) before and after matched and mismatched participants received the Believe It! intervention. Webster (2010) analyzed data from African-American participants, Hardy (2011) Latinas, Zhang (2013) Asian-Americans, and Hacker (2014) ethnically isolated Caucasian young women. The current article reports that the results of these four studies are consistent with similar research involving live counselor and client dyads (e.g., Cabral & Smith, 2011). The Believe It! program had a clear impact on ethnically matched African-American young women, whereas pairings on ethnicity produced, at best, marginally improved outcomes for Latinas, Asian-Americans, and ethnically isolated Caucasian young women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Keywords

  • Avatars
  • Believe it!
  • Career beliefs
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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