Self-esteem, anxiety and assertiveness : a theoretical and empirical approach to the effects of assertion training : submitted as part of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (Clinical Psychology)

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Massey University
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This study was conducted as a tentative investigation of the effect of Assertiveness Training on "normal to pre-clinical" outpatients attending a small psychological clinic. A full evaluation using an acceptable research design had been planned, however particular difficulties arose to obstruct this aim. Employing data from the subjects who had already been tested, further modifications of the major testing instruments (the Gambrill and Richey [1975] Assertion Inventory and Kelly's [1955] Role Construct Repertory Grid) were made as part of the present study. Since an extensive literature survey had indicated that structured theoretical or empirical reports are dwarfed by "popular" publications in the Assertion Training area, it was decided to use the data obtained through further testing to produce a theoretical paper based on the quasi- evaluation that remained. Three levels of subjects, two being sub-samples of the major sample, were put forward to structure the data analysis which then proceeded in three stages to test five basic hypotheses. Comparative and correlational procedures were used in Stages I and II to examine the data firstly on 110 and then on 50 sets of pre-tests. Subjects at Stage III (N = 36) belonged to two training groups and a waiting-list control group. At this level, the experimenter was interested to ascertain whether or not there were significant changes between pre and post-test in subjects' scores on three main variables (Self-Esteem, Discomfort/Interpersonal Anxiety, and Response Probability) . Such changes were found but only for subjects in the training groups and, in particular, the Discomfort variable appeared to take an important part in this preliminary "training effect". Whereas self-esteem and response probability ratings remained relatively consistent on average across the short testing interval, anxiety/discomfort levels decreased significantly among the trainees. This pointed to the benefit of AT as an anxiety-reducing procedure and stimulated comments on the importance of client/patient-oriented diagnostic and therapeutic media. In brief, the results provided some interesting catalysts for theoretical integration and, in addition, a discussion of the testing instruments and their prospects for future use supplied a functional approach to round off the study.
Assertiveness (Psychology), Assertiveness training, Self-esteem, Anxiety