Thesis directed by Professor Peter G. Ossorio
The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of self-criticism by utilizing the concept of high power-low power from Descriptive Psychology. High power-low power refers to a particular type of complementary relationship. The high power position involves initiating and terminating projects and plans, setting standards and evaluating progress, making decisions and insisting on certain things. The low power position involves selectively encouraging, implementing, elaborating and interpreting decisions. It was assumed that in mixed sex relationships, males are typically in the high power position and females are in the low power position.
It was hypothesized that being in a low power position would lead to more self-criticism in females than in males. A related hypothesis was that males would be more likely than females to reject the low power position. It was further hypothesized that females would be more likely than males would be to reject the high power position. Each of the above hypotheses was partially supported by the results of the study.
No support was obtained for the hypotheses that females will be more self-critical, and more criticized by others, when in a high power position. Nor were the hypotheses that females would be more self-critical, and criticized more by others, for failing to act on an affiliative relationship supported by the results. The hypotheses that females would be seen as more selfish than males when acting on professional considerations and that females would be more likely than males to find fault with themselves when things go wrong were also not supported by the results of the study.
The author concludes that an understanding of high power-low power relationships is important for understanding male-female relationships and the phenomenon of self-criticism, and that the situational context is important to take into account. [101 pp.]