Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Bandura and his colleagues have demonstrated that modeling techniques using fearless "mastery" models can be useful in helping clients overcome irrational fears (Bandura, Grusec and Menlove, 1967; Bandura and Menlove, 1968; Bandura, Blanchard and Ritter, 1969). Later, Meichenbaum (1971) found that initially fearful "coping" models who gradually overcome their fear are more effective than mastery models. However, research on the effects of model status has not investigated coping models. The present study attempted to discern how model status influences the effectiveness of coping models.

Thirty-two female Introduction to psychology students who reported themselves to be speech anxious were asked to speak for four minutes in front of a small audience. Experimental subjects then viewed a videotape in which either a high status model, a medium status model or a low status model demonstrated a technique for dealing with public speaking anxiety. Control subjects received no treatment. All subjects then received a post-test in which they again gave a four minute speech. Three self-report measures and one behavioral rating were used as dependent measures.

Results showed that the medium status model was more effective than the high status model, the low status model, and no model at at all In overcoming the subjective feelings of anxiety. The high status model was perceived by subjects as the most clear and helpful, with the medium status model only slightly less so. The loty status model was seen as significantly less clear and less helpful than either of the other two models.

It was argued that medium status models (l.e. those as similar as possible to the observer) should be used in clinical situations. The possible superiority of the high status model in perceived helpfulness is more than overcome by the increased effectiveness of the medium status model.