Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Shannon McCoy, Shelby Helwig

Committee Members

Margaret Killinger, Jordan LaBouff, Mollie Ruben

Graduation Year

May 2022

Publication Date

Spring 5-2022


Women suffer harmful consequences for mental and physical health after being exposed to sexism. In this study, I explored confrontation as a coping mechanism to protect women’s mental and physical health following an experience of sexism. This study consisted of a mock job search review in which the participant was exposed to blatant sexism and was instructed to confront or ignore the sexism. The participants completed measures of perceived sexism, psychological wellbeing, mental health, and physical health following the committee meeting. I hypothesized that women who were instructed to confront would do so and those instructed to ignore would not. I also expected that women in the confrontation condition would report higher psychological wellbeing, better mental health, and better physical health than those in the ignore condition. I found the manipulation of confrontation was effective, though I suggest some improvements for future research. My findings also pointed to initial support of confrontation as a protective mechanism for women’s psychological wellbeing, mental health, and physical health after experiencing sexism.