WORK VALUES AND ASSERTIVENESS IN THE EMPLOYED AND
JEAN DAVIS GRAY
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Jean Davis Gray
Deepest love and gratitude are expressed to
my parents, Bill and Zelma, whose love,
support, and cooperation made this
With warm regards to the following persons:
Dr. Paul Fitzgerald, my doctoral chairperson, for his
support, understanding, and friendship.
Dr. James Joiner, my doctoral committee member, who
shared his wisdom and encouragement when it was most needed.
Dr. Robert Myrick, my doctoral committee member, for
help and scholarly advice.
Laura Blitzer, Cindy Bennett and Linda Hague, my
special friends, who suffered through and supported the
writing of my dissertation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. . . . . . .. iv
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . .. vii
I INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . 1
Statement of the Problem . . . . . 3
Purpose of the Study . . . . . . 6
Research Questions . . . . . . 7
Definition of Terms . . . . . . 7
Organization of the Remainder of
the Study . . . . . . . . 9
II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE . . . .. 10
The Development of Work Values . . .. 10
Work Values and the Disabled . . . .. 13
Epilepsy and Work Values . . . . .. 14
What Is Assertive Behavior? . . . .. 17
What Is Nonassertive Behavior? . . .. 19
Employment and Assertiveness/Non-
assertiveness . . . . . ... 20
The Job Hunt . . . . . . .. 21
The Interview . . . . . . .. 22
The Interview and Nonverbal Assertive
Behavior . . . . . . . .. 27
The Job . . . . . . ... . 30
Variables Associated with Assertiveness/
Nonassertiveness and How They Relate to
Employment/Unemployment . . . .. 33
Self-Concept . . . . . . ... 33
Self-Concept and Employment . . .. 34
Self-Confidence . . . . . .. 34
Self-Confidence and Employment . . .. 35
Anxiety . . . . . . . ... 36
Assertiveness and/or Nonassertiveness and
Employment of the Disabled . . . .. 39
Assertiveness/Nonassertiveness and the
Epileptic . . . . . . ... 44
Conclusion . . . . . . . .. 46
III METHODOLOGY . . . . . . . .. 47
Population . . . . . . . .. 47
Sample . . . . . . . . .. 48
Hypotheses . . . . . . . .. 50
Instruments . . . . . . . .. 50
Adult Self Expression Scale . . .. 50
Work Values Inventory . . . . .. 53
Analysis of Data . . . . . . .. 64
IV RESULTS . . . . . . . . .. 65
V SUMMARY, RESULTS, LIMITATIONS, CONCLUSION,
IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS . . .. 69
Summary . . . . . . . . .. 69
Results . . . . . . . . .. 69
Limitations . . . . . . . .. 70
Conclusion . . . . . . . ... 71
Implications . . . . . . . .. 72
Recommendations . . . . . . .. 74
A Agency . . . . . . . . .. 75
B Informed Consent Form . . . . .. 76
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . ... .. . 77
BIOGRAPHICAL DATA . . . . . . . . .. 86
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
WORK VALUES AND ASSERTIVENESS IN THE EMPLOYED AND
Jean Davis Gray
Chairman: Dr. Paul Fitzgerald
Major Department: Counselor Education
The purpose of this study was to investigate work
values and assertiveness levels in employed and chronically
unemployed adult epileptics. The Adult Self Expression
Scale (ASES), and the Work Values Inventory (WVI) were ad-
ministered to two hundred adult epileptics in the North
Florida area. This sample included one hundred employed and
one hundred chronically unemployed adult epileptics.
A t-test for independent groups was used to determine
if significant differences exist in assertiveness levels and
work values between the employed and chronically unemployed.
The employed group scored significantly higher on the ASES
than did the chronically unemployed group. The minimum
value scored by the employed group was 59 and the maximum
value was 163. A t-value equal to -7.8255 was obtained with
the probability of obtaining that value at .0001. The
minimum value on the WVI for the chronically unemployed
group was 76 and the maximum value was 193. The range of
scores for the employed was 122 to 257. A t-value equal to
-10.8155 was obtained with a probability of obtaining that
value at .0001. Employed epileptics scored significantly
higher on the WVI than chronically unemployed epileptics.
A Pearson product moment correlation was utilized to
determine if a significant relationship between the Adult
Self Expression Scale (ASES) and the Work Values Inventory
(WVI) exists for the employed and for the chronically unem-
ployed group. The Pearson product correlation yielded a
correlation coefficient equal to .5554 with a probability of
obtaining that coefficient of .0001. The correlation is
moderately high and it is significant at the .0001 level.
There is a significant relationship between assertiveness
levels and work values as measured by the ASES and the WVI
for employed epileptics.
Based on the results of this study there is a need for
assertion and work values training with chronically unem-
ployed adult epileptics. Since a positive relationship
exist between assertion and work values, providing one of
those services may increase both levels and decrease dupli-
cation of services.
Two to four million Americans have epilepsy, approxi-
mately one in every fifty persons (Epilepsy Foundation of
America, 1979). Epilepsy is a nondiscriminating disorder.
It can occur at any age, affects all ethnic groups, and is
equally distributed between the sexes. It impairs the
abilities of the person who has it only during the seizure
itself and the usually short period of recovery time after-
wards. Most people with epilepsy, therefore, are persons
with only a part-time disability.
The history of epilepsy is probably as old as humanity.
One can find references to the "falling sickness" in Greek
writing as early as the 5th Century B.C. The first detailed
discussion is attributed to Hippocrates who, in the book On
the Sacred Disease, explained in detail the mechanism of
epileptic seizures. People of that time looked upon con-
vulsing movements, periods of blankly staring and seemingly
aimless wanderings, as being symbolic of a person's close-
ness to the gods.
In ancient Rome if a citizen had a seizure, this was
taken as a sign "from the gods" to adjourn the Senate.
Hippocrates (400 B.C.) changed the direction of thinking on
epilepsy when he wrote, "It is thus with the disease called
sacred; it appears to me to be nowise more divine nor more
sacred than other diseases, but has a natural cause from
which it originates like other affections" (Epilepsy Founda-
tion of America, 1979, p. 67).
Centuries later the pendulum began swinging toward an-
other extreme. Persons with epilepsy were believed to be
possessed by evil spirits. Exorcism by ritual and torture
have been practiced in many societies. The epileptic was
feared and in some cases executed (Epilepsy Foundation of
While the facts about epilepsy are being taught, many
of the misconceptions that have surrounded this disorder
remain. "Unlike other disabilities, epilepsy carries with
it a unique problem: the profusion of misinformation and a
body of ancient superstitions" (Temkin, 1945, p. 48). As a
result, until 1969 there were still states with statutes
forbidding the marriage of persons with epilepsy. In one
state, applicants for a marriage license were forced to
attest that they were not "idiot, epileptic, or common
drunkard" (Wilder, 1968). Until recently there were states
that specifically authorized the sterilization of institu-
tionalized persons with epilepsy and one in particular that
retained a law which permitted the involuntary sterilization
of its epileptic citizens whether they were institutionalized
Though a positive measurable change in public attitudes
has occurred many barriers remain for the person who carries
the label of epileptic, irrespective of the control of their
seizures (Caveness, Merritt, Gallup & Ruby, 1965). Many
discriminatory state laws have been repealed and further
legislation is now supporting rehabilitation, training pro-
grams, and vocational education. Still, the degree of
success rehabilitation personnel achieve with the epileptic
client is considerably lower than that for other disability
groups (Risch, 1972).
Statement of the Problem
Medical science has done much to render the person with
epilepsy seizure-free or seizure-controlled. Statistics
show that 50 percent of those with epilepsy have complete
control and another 30 percent have only occasional seizures
Karan (1972) states that 75-85 percent of those people with
epilepsy can have enough control to live normal lives.
Seizures need not in themselves be a barrier to any aspect
of everyday living, particularly employment.
As Hibbard (1945) pointed out, the question "are epi-
leptics employable?" should be answered no differently from
the question, "are people employable?" During the past ten
years, unemployment among persons with epilepsy has reached
25-30 percent. In 1972, Social Security reported that the
unemployment rate for the disabled was 7.4 percent in 1966,
compared to unemployment of 3.7 percent for the nondisabled.
The unemployment rate for the severely disabled was 11 per-
cent in 1966, while at the same time, persons with epilepsy
had an unemployment rate of 15-25 percent.
Wilder (1968) stated, ". . There are relatively few
patients who are so severely involved with seizures that
productive work cannot be performed in spite of their
occurrence. Why then do unemployment statistics for epilep-
tics run better than 2 to 1 when compared to the national
average? Perhaps there is something beyond the actual
seizures" (p. 87). The Epilepsy Foundation of America
(1979) stated that one of the major barriers to employment
in this population is psychosocial, psychological and be-
havior problems. Lerman (1977) supports this notion by
stating "many epileptics are almost unemployable because of
personality problems, not the actual seizures" (p. 265).
Numerous researchers in the area feel vocational coun-
seling is a necessity for the epileptic individual (Dennerll,
1970; Muthard, 1975; Rodin, 1972 and Wilder, 1968). The
value of counseling for the person with epilepsy and who is
entering work was affirmed by the Belgian experience which
showed that next to adequate medical control of seizures,
the most important contribution to successful work adjust-
ment was guidance from an experienced counselor (Sorel,
1972). Numerous studies indicate counselors lack knowledge
and skills in working with the unique problems of the epi-
leptic client (Jacks & Toubbeh, 1975; Muthard, 1975 and
Wright, Gibbs & Linde, 1962).
Epilepsy costs the nation more than four billion
dollars each year (Epilepsy Foundation of America, 1979).
Many of the people it affects need to be vocationally
rehabilitated. The epileptic population can provide valu-
able human resources and be both economically and socially
Many feel that the rehabilitation process for the epi-
leptic is insufficient. The Maryland Developmental Dis-
abilities Council (Freeman, 1977) found that the rehabilita-
tion of persons with epilepsy is far from optimal. Less
than half of those in their study who had completed reha-
bilitation training were employed, and only one-third of
those who were employed had full-time jobs. The majority of
those who were employed had found their own jobs and were
not working at jobs for which they were trained. The fifty
percent who were not employed were not getting help from
In an attempt to understand the apparent weakness in
the rehabilitation process of the epileptic client, Jacks
and Toubbeh (1975) conducted a survey of rehabilitation
agencies throughout the fifty states and 87 percent responded
to the survey. The results indicated that the major barrier
to the rehabilitation of persons with epilepsy was (1) inap-
propriate and negative attitudes toward epileptic clients,
and (2) inadequate counselor knowledge of how to work with
the epileptic client, especially in the area of employment.
All forty-two states that responded to this survey indicated
that the major need in the rehabilitation of the epileptic
is further exploration of why employment is the major
problem for this population and how counselors can become
more effective in solving that problem.
Placing the client with a history of epilepsy into com-
petitive employment can be a difficult and frustrating task
for the rehabilitation counselor. It has been found that
"counselors frequently experience frustration and failure in
well-intentioned but ill-informed efforts to place epilep-
tics in suitable employment" (Wright, Gibbs & Linds, 1962,
p. 113). Likewise, Muthard (1975) stated ". . it is often
the counselor's lack of knowledge rather than the charac-
teristics of the disorder that is responsible for poor ser-
vice delivery to the epileptic client" (p. 76). Yet, a
review of the literature shows little attention being paid
to changing this shortcoming. "Efforts to help the client
with epilepsy have basically remained in the medical treat-
ment domain, yet the consequences faced by the client with
epilepsy more often occur in society" (Hopkins & Scambler,
1977, p. 43).
Eighty percent of the two to four million Americans
with epilepsy are able to work (Epilepsy Foundation of
America, 1979). The unemployment rate for epileptics is
presently 25-30 percent; over twice that of the national
average (Epilepsy Foundation of America, 1979). This popu-
lation is capable of providing economically for itself and
need not be dependent upon the rest of society.
Purpose of the Study
It is the purpose of this study to investigate work
values and assertiveness in employed and chronically unem-
The Adult Self Expression Scale (ASES) (Gay, 1974) will
be used to determine assertiveness and The Work Values In-
ventory (WVI) (Super, 1970) will be used to assess the goals
which motivate individuals to work.
By examining work values and assertiveness in the epi-
leptic population, we will gain a better insight into why
employment consistently remains a major problem for these
individuals. This would provide needed information for
rehabilitation counselors working with the chronically un-
1. Do work values in the employed epileptic differ from the
2. Do levels of assertiveness differ in the employed and
3. Is there a relationship between work values and asser-
tiveness behavior levels in employed and unemployed
Definition of Terms
The following terms will be used in this study:
Assertive Behavior--assertion is the direct and appropriate
communication of a person's needs, wants, and opinions with-
out punishing, threatening, or putting down others and doing
this without fear during the process.
Chronically Unemployed--one who has been out of work for a
year or longer or has had a series of jobs that were held
less than six months at a time.
Disability--a condition of impairment, physical or mental,
having an objective aspect that can be medically described.
Employed--one who has held the same job for six months or
Epilepsy--a symptom, a manifestation of abnormal cerebral
function which may be due to a large number of different
causes; not a specific or a single chronic disease of the
Types of Epilepsy
Grand Mal--a seizure type. Muscles become tense, the
body rigid, followed by a temporary loss of conscious-
ness and violent shaking of the entire body. Usually
lasts about two to five minutes.
Petit Mal--seizures characterized by sudden loss of
awareness, by a vacant and glassy stare, and by sudden
interruption of the activity in which the individual
was engaged, including speech; lasts from four to
thirty seconds; occasionally accompanied by subtle
swallowing movements or lip smacking. Also referred to
as absence seizures.
Psychomotor Seizure--a seizure characterized by altered
awareness, repetitive actions and sometimes amnesia;
occurs mainly in temporal lobe epilepsy.
Temporal Lobe Seizure--seizures arising in the temporal
lobe, often called psychomotor seizures. About one-
fifth of all epileptic attacks are of this kind.
Rehabilitation--a process of restoring disabled individuals
to the fullest physical, mental, social, vocational and eco-
nomic usefulness of which they are capable.
Rehabilitation Process--a four phased process in order of
implementation: the evaluation of the client, planning with
the client a course of action, implementing the planned
treatment and termination after successful completion of all
Seizure Control--the control of epileptic seizures using
anti- convulsant medications, that allow the individual to
live as close to normal as possible.
Seizure Free--the complete and absolute control of all
seizure activity with the use of anticonvulsant medication.
Organization of the Remainder of the Study
The following review of the literature will explore the
development of work values and how the onset of a disability
such as epilepsy may cause problems in this development.
Assertiveness and nonassertiveness will be explored and how
this is related to employment and/or unemployment.
This will be followed by the methodology section which
will contain population, sample, hypotheses, instruments,
and analysis of data.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The Development of Work Values
"A value is a learned belief so thoroughly internalized
that it colors the actions and thoughts of the individual
and produces a strong emotional/intellectual response when
anything runs counter to it" (Barry & Wolf, 1965, p. 42).
The individual operating on the basis of a learned value
feels he/she must think and behave in a certain way because
it is right or good.
Speaking of values in general, Super (1975) feels that
to a considerable extent they are family derived. Parents
begin teaching certain values the day the child is born and
reinforce learning through various types of rewards and
punishments. Furthermore, some studies indicate that this
is also true of work values (Centers, 1948; Friend &
Haggard, 1948; McAuther, 1955 and Porter, 1954).
A child who learns to value work, often is one who is
raised in an environment conducive to that. Values the
child adopts can be transmitted from the parents through
verbal and nonverbal communication (Barry & Wolf, 1965). It
becomes apparent, when a father works double shifts or
moonlights or the mother becomes employed in order to im-
prove both style and standard of living, that work is neces-
sary and/or good. Miller and Form (1951) have vividly
described the emphasis on the value of money and the impor-
tance of "getting ahead," and how these values are trans-
mitted to the young child by family members.
The child may learn that certain types of behaviors are
associated with work and is often encouraged to develop
these behaviors in the home environment. Accepting respon-
sibility, for example, may be taught by assigning household
chores to the child. Rewards are often given in the form of
money or praise for extra work done such as raking the yard
or washing the family car. Wright (1980) stated, ". . the
family provides the behavioral patterns and motivational
systems that induce the child to achieve and become produc-
tive" (p. 87).
The school system often continues the process of learn-
ing the values of work. Miller and Form (1951) identify
five prescriptions about good work ways which the school
1. The pupil is trained to stay on the job and
learn his/her lessons.
2. The pupil is encouraged to develop initiative
and to rise socially.
3. The pupil is trained to obey authority.
4. The pupil is trained to develop character.
5. The pupil is trained to get along with teachers
Through such instructions, the young child is helped to pre-
pare for the world of work.
The individual often experiences the first direct con-
tact with the world of work through a part-time job after
school and on weekends, or possibly a full-time job during
the summer months. Although this job may be seen as only
temporary, the individual may learn that certain expecta-
tions and/or behaviors must be met in order to hold the job.
Numerous research studies in the area of interest
measurement relate personality factors to interest patterns,
with the general conclusion that occupational interest re-
flects the value orientations, the needs and the motivations
of individuals (Darley & Hagenah, 1955). Values orienta-
tion, in particular, appears to be closely linked with voca-
tional choice and development. There are few occupations
which can satisfy all the needs of an individual and, as
Ginzberg (1951) suggests, a compromise occurs which takes
into account, among many things, the values of the indi-
What one values one chooses. Once this compromise is
made and the occupation is selected, at least tentatively,
the process seems to reverse and it becomes more a question
of valuing what was chosen than choosing what is valued
(Kinnane & Gaubinger, 1963). The degree to which one values
his/her chosen occupation depends largely on the satisfaction
he/she is receiving from that occupation.
Ginzberg, Ginzberg, Alexrad and Herma (1951) identified
three different types of satisfactions related to occupa-
First, there are the intrinsic satisfactions which
come from two sources: (1) the pleasure which is
derived from engaging in work activity (functional
pleasure), and (2) the sense of accomplishment
which is experienced from meeting social standards
of success and personal realization of abilities
through achievement. Second, there are the con-
comitant satisfactions which are associated with
the physical and psychological conditions of a
person's work. These could include working in a
clean, air conditioned plant, having many fringe
benefits, enjoying congenial co-workers, being em-
ployed by a company with worker orientation, etc.
Third, there are the extrinsic satisfactions which
are the tangible rewards of work, i.e., pay and
bonuses. (p. 421)
Work Values and the Disabled
Any discussion of work values must take into considera-
tion the environmental variables that contribute to and/or
influence the shaping of those values. The early onset of a
disability, for example, may influence the formation of work
values. The child who is born with or experiences the early
acquisition of a disability often does not follow the same
maturation process in developing work values and work roles
that the "normal" child may experience. Gellman (1961)
contrasted the situation of the normal child to that of the
The disabled child is often deprived of the complex
of family chores and responsibilities which develop
a sense of productivity and work satisfaction. The
birth of a child with an apparent disability may
induce parental attitudes of overprotection or re-
jection which limit independent activities. School
often brings segregation or isolation. Lower stan-
dards for the handicapped may well diminish the
achievement drive. Prejudice against the disabled
person restricts opportunities for summer or after
school work. As disabled young adults, they lack
the knowledge and experience which underpin a work
personality. Having learned how not to work, they
see themselves as unproductive and unable to work.
Epilepsy and Work Values
Epilepsy may strike at any age, but it is predominantly
a disorder of youth. At least three fourths of all cases
begin in the first two decades of life (Lennox, 1960). An
estimated 90 percent of these cases have no known causes
(Epilepsy Foundation of America, 1979).
Parental reactions and attitudes toward epilepsy will,
to a large extent, determine how the child will interpret
their disability. Lerman (1977) found that 80 percent of
the families studied reacted poorly and had a change in
attitude toward the epileptic child after a diagnosis of
epilepsy had been disclosed to them. Lerman (1977) stated,
"I claim that a major factor in the genesis of psychosocial
problems in the epileptic, obviating employment, is faulty
upbringing, namely a wrong parental attitude toward the epi-
leptic child" (p. 265).
Since American culture places a high premium on perfec-
tion, the parents of an epileptic child may mourn the loss
of a perfect, "normal" child and react with depression
(Olshansky, 1962). Some parents become more than depressed
and reject the epileptic child either partially or com-
pletely (Lennox & Mohr, 1950). Other parents, as Freud's
(1946) work on ego suggested, may become emotionally
smothering and oversolicitous as a reaction formation to
their unconscious rejection of the epileptic child. Such
parental responses may arrest healthy ego development of the
child and cause a loss of ego strength, the very quality
that the child needs in order to cope with the psychosocially
stressful aspects of their disability (Goldin & Margolin,
Particularly damaging to later adjustment is the atti-
tude of guilt and resentment on the part of the parents and
the overprotection that results (Goldin & Margolin, 1975;
Lennox, 1960; Lerman, 1977 and Wright, 1980). The desire to
protect the handicapped child sometime becomes an irrational
obsession. To quote Lennox (1960), "Many parents believe it
their duty to keep the epileptic child always in sight and
forbid all activities which involve danger" (p. 212).
An example of extreme overprotection is illustrated by
Lerman (1977) in the case of a twenty-three year old male
client who had never had a job. During his childhood he had
petit mal seizures, subsequently followed by rare grand mal
episodes. All through high school his mother escorted him
to school in the morning and home in the afternoon. When
the boy was seventeen, his father shaved him every morning
since he could not be trusted with a razor.
Epileptologists and counselors have become all to
familiar with parental overprotectiveness and the problems
that result. It is well known that the tendency of parents
to overprotect a child can be greatly increased by the exis-
tence of a physical or mental disability. Aware of the many
adverse attitudes concerning epilepsy and because of the
possibility of injury as a result of one having a seizure,
many parents exert an even greater effort to protect their
epileptic child. To quote Lerman (1977),
Many seizure free epileptics are almost unemploy-
able not because of cerebral dysrhythmia or feeble-
mindedness, but because of personality problems as
a result of parental overprotection. Apart from
the personality disturbances due to organic brain
disease and/or seizures, the epileptic is often
afflicted with maladjustment problems, including
lack of emotional maturity, dependency, and moti-
vation to work, which are purely psychogenic and
not produced by the epilepsy per se. (p. 265)
Numerous other researchers in the area support this state-
Kaye (1951), investigating psychosocial maladjustment
in children with petit mal epilepsy, found an impaired
parent/child relationship as a cause. In all instances
there was parental rejection leading to hostility or compen-
satory overprotection. In another study Pond and Bidwell
(1954) found that 40 percent of their patients had difficul-
ties in social adjustment due to behavior problems as a re-
sult of parental overprotectiveness. Kanner (1960) sup-
ported this by stating that "overprotection may result in
spoiled behavior and retardation of mental and social matu-
ration" (p. 266). Finally, Fox (1947) states that "physical
danger likely to occur is really less than the mental damage
resulting from overprotection" (p. 266).
In a review of 100 children suffering from benign focal
epilepsy of childhood, Lerman and Kivity (1975) compared two
groups. One retrospective and the other prospective, which
were similar clinically but differed in the way in which
they had been brought up due to dissimilar attitudes on the
part of the treating physicians and the parents. In the
older retrospective group, a guarded prognosis had been
pronounced and excessive restrictions had been imposed re-
sulting in anxiety, overprotection and overindulgence in
most cases. In the prospective group, the favorable prog-
nosis was stressed, the parents were told that full recovery
would ensue within several years, and they were warned
against overprotection and overpermissiveness. In the for-
mer group, emotional difficulties, dependency, behavior
problems and social maladjustment were much more prominent.
Thus, we have the same kind of epilepsy but different psy-
chosocial consequences, clearly due to environmental fac-
tors. To quote Livingston (1972), "the epileptic individual
who has been treated as if they were as fragile as a piece
of crystal does not have the opportunity to develop the in-
dependence and self-reliance that is so essential in the
field of employment" (p. 436).
The most disastrous advice, often given by those in-
volved in the care and treatment of the epileptic child, is
that they should not be angered, aggravated, or opposed
lest they have a seizure. This attitude may well result in
the parents becoming overpermissive and overindulgent and in
the child's becoming pampered and spoiled. If this attitude
is present, that could affect these individuals formation of
work values. This study will examine work values in em-
ployed and unemployed epileptics.
What Is Assertive Behavior?
Assertive behavior enables a person to act in his/her
own best interest, to stand up for herself or himself without
undue anxiety, to express honest feelings comfortably, or to
exercise personal rights without denying the rights of others.
1. To act in one's own best interest refers to
the capacity to make life decisions (career,
lifestyle), to take initiative, to trust one's
own judgment, to set goals and work to achieve
them, to ask help from others, to comfortably
2. To stand up for oneself includes such behaviors
as saying "no," setting limits on one's time
and energy, responding to criticism or put
downs or anger, expressing or supporting or
defending one's opinion.
3. To express honest feelings comfortably means
the ability to disagree, to show anger, to
show affection or friendship, to admit fear or
anxiety, to express agreement or support, to
be spontaneous, all without painful anxiety.
4. To exercise personal rights relates to one's
competency (as a citizen, as a consumer, as a
member of a work group) to express opinions,
to work for change, to respond to violations
of one's own rights or those of others.
5. To not deny the rights of others is to accom-
plish the above personal expressions without
unfair criticisms of others, without hurtful
behavior toward others, without name-calling,
without intimidation, without controlling
others. (Alberti & Emmons, 1981, p. 28)
Assertive behavior is further defined as knowing what
you need and want, making this clear to others, working in a
self-directed way to get your needs met while showing re-
spect for others.
Above all, being assertive requires honest self-disclo-
sure. Assertive people communicate honestly and directly;
they express feelings, needs, and ideas and stand up for
their rights; they are capable of acting in their own be-
half; they take the initiative in meeting their needs; and
they ask for information and for the assistance of others
when they need it.
You will know you are behaving assertively when you ex-
perience feelings of reduced anxiety and increased satisfac-
tion, self-esteem, self-confidence, and when more of your
important needs are being met. Others will often respond
more positively to you, and some of your relationships will
become more satisfying (Adams, 1979, p. 24).
"Assertive individuals are expressive, spontaneous,
well-defined, confident and able to influence and lead
others" (Galassi, Delo, Galassi & Bastien, 1974, p. 1962).
What Is Nonassertive Behavior?
Alberti and Emmons (1981) discuss two concepts of non-
assertiveness which are useful in understanding and develop-
ing more adequate responses to life situations which call
1. Situational nonassertiveness refers to those
individuals whose behavior is typically adequate
and self-enhancing; however, certain situations
stimulate a great deal of anxiety in them which
prevents fully adequate responses to that par-
ticular situation, i.e., job interviews.
2. Generalized nonassertiveness refers to those
persons whose behavior is typically nonasser-
tive. This individual, often observed as shy,
timid, or reserved, is unable to assert rights
or act on feelings under most or nearly all
circumstances. The generally nonassertive
person is one with very low self-esteem (p. 15).
Nonassertive behavior means not expressing your feel-
ings, thoughts, needs, wants, opinions to others--failing to
act in self-directed ways to meet your important needs.
Nonassertive people react rather than act; they spend
much time and energy responding to what others say and do
instead of taking the initiative for communicating and act-
ing on their own. Many nonassertive people are so overcome
with anxiety that they won't express even their most ordi-
nary feelings, needs, and opinions. When they do express
their ideas or needs, they often do it in such a self-
effacing way that other people disregard or ignore them
(Adams, 1979, p. 21).
"Nonassertive persons, more often feel inadequate and
inferior, have marked tendencies to be oversolicitous of
emotional support from others and exhibit excessive inter-
personal anxiety" (Galassi, Delo, Galassi & Bastien, 1974,
Employment and Assertiveness/Nonassertiveness
Once a month, prominent press coverage is given to one
statistic for the entire country. It is published by the U.
S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics and it is the unem-
ployment figure. This figure for June 1982 was 9.5. The
annual average of unemployed persons for 1981 was 8,237,000.
"The business of getting hired is a ruthlessly competi-
tive race. Perhaps you won't see them, but you are running
with a pack of competitors" (Pettus, 1981, p. 31).
So what does employment have to do with assertive/nonas-
sertiveness? There is a process that everyone must go
through, at least partially, in order to join the ranks of
the employed. The following will examine the various steps
in this process and show how assertiveness is a factor in
each of these steps.
The Job Hunt
The whole process of the job hunt in this country
is Neanderthal. Year after year, our systems con-
demn man after man and woman after woman to go
down the same path, face the same problems, make
the same mistakes, endure the same frustrations,
go through the same loneliness, and end up still
unemployed. When we turn to the "experts" in this
field to say, "show me a better way", we are cha-
grined to discover they are just as baffled by this
job hunt, and just as aware that they haven't yet
come up with the answer to it, as we are. (Bolles,
1981, p. 39)
The job hunt should ultimately begin with choosing what
type of work one wants to do. A forty-hour a week job, done
for fifty weeks a year, adds up to 2,000 hours annually. A
study by Columbia University revealed that the overwhelming
majority of Americans, 90 percent, would prefer an occupa-
tion other than their present one. Taking time to proceed
carefully and thoroughly in choosing your work will probably
find you happier in the long run and choice is the most key
element in assertiveness (Alberti & Emmons, 1981).
Assertiveness training has been used to teach job
hunting skills. The Career Choice Information Center (CCIC)
at the University of Texas has applied the concept of asser-
tiveness to the development of effective job hunting skills.
The Assertive Job-Hunt Survey (AJHS) was administered at the
beginning and end of two different sets of assertive job
hunting classes. These classes applied the concept of as-
sertiveness by suggesting how job hunters can act on their
environment to procure information, establish contact per-
sons in organizations, and so on. The two separate groups
or sets of students taking the AJHS at the beginning and end
of four week classes in assertive job hunting showed a sig-
nificant increase in scores from pre-test to post-test.
Average increases in scores were 27 and 21 points (Becker,
Nobody has ever gotten a job offer of any kind, at
any salary, at any point in history, without first
having that meeting known as the interview. For
too long, misdirected job applicants have treated
this crucial meeting as though it hardly matters.
In fact, the interview is all that matters. Win
the interview and you'll get hired. (Pettus, 1981,
As the job market becomes progressively more competi-
tive, the job interview becomes more important. The ability
to effectively communicate appears to be a crucial factor in
the selection process (Drake, Kaplan & Stone, 1972; Tschiragi,
1973). The job seeker must be prepared to effectively com-
municate verbally and nonverbally in the job interview
(Lumsden & Sharf, 1974).
Onoda and Gassert (1978) discuss several reasons why
job seekers have difficulty effectively communicating during
a job interview. The first is that they are often unpre-
pared or lack knowledge of the purpose, importance, and the
process of the job interview. In essence, the job inter-
viewees do not know how to effectively say what is impor-
tant. Second, even if the interviewees comprehend the types
of information to communicate about themselves, nonverbal
communication may undermine their efforts. It is not only
what one states about oneself, but also how one acts or re-
sponds behaviorally that communicates a message to the in-
terviewer. Third, the job interviewee may have a faulty
belief system (attitudes, opinions and beliefs) that inhibit
Assertiveness is communicating yourself and your ideas
(Alberti & Emmons, 1981). Assertion training was developed
as a technique to help individuals more effectively express
their rights, wants, and feelings in interpersonal situa-
tions (Alberti & Emmons, 1981; Fensterheim, 1972; Wolpe &
Lazarus, 1966). Assertion training not only includes the
elimination of maladaptive behaviors, but training in new
responses. Various techniques have been employed in asser-
tion training such as reciprocal inhibitions, shaping,
modeling, coaching, behavioral rehearsing, and modifying
negative self talk (Alberti & Emmons, 1981; Eisler, lersen &
Miller, 1974; Lange & Jakubowski, 1976; McFall & Marston,
1970; Wolpe & Lazarus, 1966).
Assertion training has been used to improve job inter-
view behaviors. McGovern (1976) adapted the assertion
training model to help individuals more effectively communi-
cate information about themselves in an employment inter-
view. Groups of 12-20 individuals participated in one four
hour workshop. The term assertion as used in these work-
shops placed more emphasis on effective communication than
on standing up for personal rights, as defined by the more
traditional assertion training programs. The group divided
into triads, with one person acting as the interviewer, one
person as interviewee, and the third person acting as an
observer. Each triad member was given the opportunity to
play each of the roles. Group members were given direct
feedback as to how he or she projected assertive responses.
Videotaping was also used as a direct feedback mechanism.
After practicing targeted behaviors in the triad, the entire
group reassembled for discussion. During these discussions,
leaders focused upon the various principles of assertive
behavior rather than offering specific responses to specific
questions. Each of the group members were assigned homework
tasks that entailed practicing assertive behaviors that were
learned. Each member had a follow-up appointment with a
counselor to roleplay an entire interview. Final results
were significant with participants displaying increased
self-knowledge of their qualities, values, strengths, and
weaknesses that relate to the job interview.
The main assertive training procedures for groups are
modeling, coaching, behavioral rehearsal, and covert rehear-
sal (Wright, 1980). In behavior rehearsal, participants
roleplay the behaviors they are trying to develop. The Job
Corps has used roleplaying to teach appropriate assertive
job interview skills. Past experience has indicated that
trainees were often plagued by problems and attitudes con-
cerning the job interview. As a result, strengths emerged
that had not occurred before. Trainees indicated they were
better prepared for a real job interview, mainly the ability
to communicate (Jackson, 1972).
Assertiveness training has been used to improve 'nter-
view skills for law students. As the job market tightens,
the job search for the would-be attorney is becoming in-
creasingly significant (Ball & Nelson, 1979). Perhaps at
one time the only prerequisite for a law graduate's employ-
ment was a degree. Apparently this is no longer true. Ball
and Nelson (1979) stated:
The law graduate now needs an edge. That edge is
obtainable through skills in human interaction
which can best be learned through assertiveness
training for job-seeking groups. Workshops in as-
sertive interview skills are not only helpful, but
necessary for the student whose goals throughout
law school have been objective and often turned
inward, away from "people skills." (p. 42)
Assertiveness skills were evaluated using the Rathus
Assertiveness Schedule before and after students partici-
pated in four one hour assertiveness training groups.
Videotaping was used for discussion and feedback of mock in-
terviews, so that nonassertive responses could be identified.
Participants paired off to practice assertive communication
skills. At the end of each session, each member was asked
"what did you say that made you feel right about your
answer?" The forced self-compliment is one way of becoming
comfortable with giving and receiving compliments, an im-
portant characteristic of the assertive person (Alberti &
Emmons, 1981). Results were significant. After assertive
training the participants exhibited a greater sense of con-
trol and choice in the job search. This was reflected in a
more positive self-concept. The group experienced a greater
self-knowledge in terms of their strengths and weaknesses,
values, and improved communication skills. "Assertiveness
is the indispensable tool of the truly successful lawyer"
(Ball & Nelson, 1979, p. 7).
Prozak (1969) found significant improvement in job
seeking skills of participants after group sessions using
modeling, roleplaying, and videotaping. The sessions empha-
sized five points: (1) ability to explain one's skills; (2)
ability to answer problem questions (poor work history, age,
mental or physical problems); (3) appropriate appearance and
mannerisms; (4) enthusiasm; and (5) fine points of the inter-
view (calling back closing "would it be alright if I called
you on Wednesday to find out about the job?").
LaFitte and Phillips (1980) of the Career Choice Infor-
mation Center, University of Texas, described a series of
job hunting classes developed at their center. The classes
included four key objectives.
1. Emphasis on both attitudinal change and skill
2. Interaction and communication.
3. Vehicle to deliver career job hunting
4. Development of an instrument to access job hunting
The classes met for four sessions. The concepts taught
were structured using the basic principles of assertiveness
and effective job hunting behavior. The application of as-
sertiveness to job hunting helped students identify rights
and choices in the job hunt, and counter self-defeating
thoughts and behaviors. Videotaped feedback, lectures,
group discussions, group exercises, homework and roleplaying
methods were employed.
Evaluation of these classes indicated that they met the
Many people view assertiveness as a verbal behavior.
Indeed it is, but not entirely. The manner in which one ex-
presses an assertive message is just as important as the
words used (Alberti & Emmons, 1981). The following will ex-
plore the related literature on nonverbal assertive beha-
viors and how they relate to the job interview.
The Interview and Nonverbal Assertive Behavior
Systematic observations of assertive behavior have led
behavioral scientists to conclude that there are several
important components which contribute to an assertive act.
A number of these components are nonverbal. Alberti and
Emmons (1981) discussed ways in which assertiveness can be
communicated nonverbally in the following:
1. Eye Contact--one of the most obvious aspects of
behavior when addressing another person is where
you look. If you look directly at the person
as you speak, it helps to communicate your sin-
cerity and to increase the directness of your
message. If you look down or away much of the
time, you present a lack of confidence, or a
quality of deference to the other person.
2. Body Posture--an active and erect posture, fac-
ing the other person directly, lends additional
assertiveness to your message.
3. Distance/Physical Contact--distance from the
other person has a considerable effect upon
communication. Standing or sitting very close
suggests a quality of intimacy in a relation-
ship. Coming too close may offend the other
person, make him/her defensive, or open the
door to greater intimacy.
4. Gestures--accentuating your message with appro-
priate gestures can add emphasis, openness, and
warmth. Uninhibited movement can also suggest
openness, self-confidence, and spontaneity on
the part of the speaker.
5. Facial Expression--effective assertions require
an expression that agrees with the message.
Let your face say the same thing your words are
6. Voice Tone/Inflection/Volume--the way we use
our voices is a vital element in our communi-
cations. If you can control and use your voice
effectively, you have acquired a powerful tool
in your self-expression.
7. Fluency--a smooth flow of speech is a valuable
asset in getting your point across in any type
8. Listening--assertive listening involves an ac-
tive commitment to the other person. Effective
listening may involve the act of giving feed-
back to the other person so that it is clear
that you understand what was said.
The job seeker must be prepared to effectively communi-
cate verbally and nonverbally. Onoda and Gassert (1978)
stated, ". . there are several reasons why job candidates
have difficulty effectively communicating during a job in-
terview. One of the reasons listed was that if the inter-
viewees comprehend the types of information to communicate
about themselves, nonverbal communication may undermine
their efforts. It is not only what one states about one-
self, but also how one acts or responds behaviorally that
communicates a message to the interviewer" (p. 492).
Eisler, Hersen and Miller (1974) measured the effects
of modeling on eight verbal and nonverbal aspects of asser-
tive behavior. Three groups were used: (1) modeling group,
(2) practice-control, and (3) test-retest. Results showed
that the modeling group clearly demonstrated more positive
effects of treatment than the other two groups. Specifically,
the modeling participants showed greater changes in five of
the eight variables studied: (1) longest duration of reply,
(2) greatest number of request for new behavior, (3) greatest
affect, (4) louder, clearer speech, and (5) greatest overall
assertiveness. Ball and Nelson (1979) also found signifi-
cant positive change in nonverbal assertive behaviors in in-
dividuals after participating in an assertiveness training
workshop, which placed emphasis on body language, using a
handshake exercise to point out the importance of eye con-
tact, facial gestures, body posture, and voice control.
Onoda and Gassert (1978) found similar results.
Rogers (1982) stated:
Once inside the door, nonverbal communication
comes through in everything from your initial
handshake to your facial expressions and the
way you sit in your chair. Remember that your
body speaks for you, so train it to speak favor-
ably. (p. 119)
"No man or woman is ever assertive enough. It is a
glittering half truth that women fail on the job because
they are not assertive. That's true of men too" (Irish,
1978, p. 25).
The best that assertive behavior can do is help you
communicate so you feel more comfortable (Baer, 1976). Most
jobs require some form of communication, whether it is with
an employer, supervisor, or co-worker. Assertiveness train-
ing has been used to improve communications in the work
Many of the people teaching assertiveness do so in work
related situations. Kirkman used assertion training in af-
firmative action programs that she works up for large corpo-
rations. Gold and Flug have had success using assertiveness
techniques in career workshops for women, workshops designed
to help women get more from their jobs (Baer, 1976).
Many view passive individuals as the sole losers in in-
terpersonal encounters. Yet, passivity frequently has a
detrimental impact upon others also (Hubert, 1982). The
supervisor who passively yields to every pressure may even-
tually destroy the morale of his or her subordinates who be-
come dismayed by lack of leadership or dependable support.
The employee who cannot ask for a deserved raise or promo-
tion may become disgruntled and negatively affect company
morale. Employees who rarely express their ideas, feelings,
and goals deprive their firms of their full organizational
participation, deny fellow employees opportunity to interact
and develop authentic interpersonal relationships, and
hinder their own personal and professional growth. Passive
behavior creates a vicious cycle in which unassertive indi-
viduals eventually harm everyone--including themselves
By learning assertion one is actually learning to give
and take more equally with others, and to be of more service
to self and others (Alberti & Emmons, 1981).
The assertive individual is able to stand up for his/
her rights. By expressing themselves forthrightly and
effectively, assertive individuals are able to gain the
respect of others (Baer, 1976).
Hubert (1982) stated:
. Since ours is an interdependent world in
which one must rely on others to obtain even the
basic necessities, it appears axiomatic that any
behavior that improves one's ability to express
clearly his or her ideas, feelings, and needs
and enhances one's interpersonal skills is de-
sirable. Through responsible assertive behavior,
people are able to develop mutually rewarding
interpersonal relationships, foster their own
personal and professional development and there-
fore, make valuable organizational contributions.
Assertion training has been used to improve job perfor-
mance of counselors. Flowers and Goldman (1975) found as-
sertion trained counselors were superior to untrained coun-
selors on a set of counselor effectiveness measures. The
assertion trained counselors were more effective than un-
trained counselors at (a) inducing clients to specify the
particular conditions under which their problems occurred,
(b) inducing the client to clearly define the ways to behave
when facing those problems in the future, and (c) helping
the client specify precisely how to change his/her behavior
in order to reach his/her aforementioned goal.
The Rathus Assertiveness Scale was used to compare the
assertiveness of assertion trained counselors with control
subjects (there were no pretreatment differences). The mean
for the assertion trainee group was +8.12 and the control
group mean was -2.38.
Supervisors of professional women employed in the
largest 500 industrial firms in the United States were sur-
veyed to see if they felt professional females employed in
their companies were assertive enough to function success-
fully in managerial jobs.
Supervisors of four-year female college graduates felt
women needed assertiveness training in the ability to
express feelings by speaking up during meetings, making re-
quest of others by delegating workload to subordinates, and
dealing with criticism by not letting pressure and opposi-
tion affect their work performance (Adams, 1979).
It is very difficult to be successful in business,
either your own or someone else's without a reasonable
degree of assertiveness (Jeffers & Carr, 1980). Gradually,
large business is becoming more aware of the need to be as-
sertive. Jenelyn Block Associates is an affirmative action
and organization development firm which began five years ago
with career development and assertion programs. They now
teach assertiveness training in the following organizations:
Bell Laboratories, Agency for International Development,
Exxon, Avon, World Bank, United Virginia Bankshares and
Research has shown that there are certain variables as-
sociated with assertiveness/nonassertiveness. In the
following we will discuss these variables and how they re-
late to employment/unemployment.
Variables Associated with Assertiveness/Nonassertiveness
and How They Relate to Employment/Unemployment
One variable that seems to relate to assertiveness is
self-concept. Percell, Berwick and Beigel (1974) found a
significant positive correlation between assertiveness and
self-concept when they administered a battery of tests,
including the Lawrence Interpersonal Behavior Test (for
assertiveness) and the Self-Acceptance Scale of the
California Psychological Inventory, to a group of outpatient
psychiatric patients. Later, in an experiment to access the
effects of assertion training on the same population, they
found that as individuals became more assertive they also
became more self-accepting (Percell et al., 1974). Numerous
other researchers in the area have also witnessed a signifi-
cant increase in self-concept after assertion training (Ball
& Nelson, 1979; Carlson, 1976; Lomont, Gilner, Spector &
Skinner, 1969; Mayo & Pearlman, 1977; Onoda & Gassert, 1978;
Percell, Berwick & Beigel, 1974).
Self-Concept and Employment
Negative self-concepts frequently foster self-fulfill-
ing prophecies of failure (Hubert, 1982). The person who
forsees failure in getting a job will probably be extremely
nervous at the employment interview and perform poorly.
Employees who retreat from friendly approaches from co-
workers because they feel others will not like them may soon
find themselves being ignored at the work place. Creative
ideas and opinions may never be expressed by the individual
who feels he or she has nothing of value to offer. Negative
self-concept denies the individual opportunities for profes-
sional growth and development as well as opportunities for
personal satisfaction and enjoyment (Hubert, 1982).
A number of theoreticians in the area of assertiveness
have speculated that there is a relationship between a
person's level of assertiveness and their feelings of self-
confidence (Alberti & Emmons, 1981). Gay, Hollandsworth and
Galassi (1975) found that the subjects scoring high on the
Adult Self Expression Scale (ASES) described themselves as
more confident than low scorers. Correlational data for the
ASES with the Adjective Check List needs scales indicated
that high scorers are more achievement oriented, more likely
to seek leadership roles and individual relationships, more
independent, less likely to express feelings of inferiority
through self-depreciation and less deferential in relation-
ships with others. These findings are very similar to the
findings of both Bates and Zimmerman (1971) and Galassi,
Delo, Galassi and Bastien (1974).
Soucy (1980) found a significant increase in self-con-
fidence in individuals who participated in a program he
designed called "Self-Confidence Through Assertive Problem
Solving (SCAPS)." Participants met once a week, two hours
per session for eight weeks, with 8-10 per group.
Self-Confidence and Employment
It becomes critical that one's self-confidence is ap-
parent at the interview. Roger (1982) stated, ". at the
interview one will certainly want to be assertive enough to
show self-confidence and drive. The potential employees are
actually sellers. They are trying to sell a product--them-
selves. If you are confident in your product your inter-
viewer will be more likely to invest. Indeed to hire an
employee is an investment" (p. 47).
In 1982 the College Placement Council conducted a sur-
vey to determine traits employers most frequently seek in
job candidates. In order of relevance, self-confidence
ranked third on a list of sixteen. Northwestern University,
in 1981, conducted a survey of 186 companies to determine
factors that lead to the rejection of a job applicants. The
first three in order read: (1) inability to demonstrate
self-confidence, (2) lack of enthusiasm, and (3) inability
to demonstrate a clear set of goals (Rogers, 1982).
Coopers and Lybrand, the nation's third largest account-
ing firm rates job candidates from outstanding to unsatis-
factory in a number of areas. They refer to this rating as
the "Confidential Performance Report." Number one on the
list is initial impression created (self-confidence, poise,
maturity) (Jeffers, 1980).
The variable which has received the most attention re-
garding its relationship to assertive behavior is anxiety.
Bates and Zimmerman (1971) administered the Constriction
Scale and the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List to 600
students as one of the validation procedures for the Con-
striction Scale. They found a significant correlation
between scores on the two scales which affirmed their hy-
pothesis that anxiety is positively correlated with being
In another study, Galassi, Delo, Galassi and Bastien
(1974) found that college students scoring low on a measure
of assertiveness selected adjectives on a checklist that in-
dicated excessive interpersonal anxiety. Gay et al. (1975)
using 464 subjects ranging in age from 18 to 60 years, ad-
ministered the Adult Self Expression Scale and the Taylor's
Manifest Anxiety Scale as one of the validation studies for
the ASES. They found that the measure of anxiety clearly
differentiated low from high assertiveness as identified by
the ASES. Percell et al. (1974) hypothesized that there
would be significant negative correlation between measures
of assertiveness and anxiety. The hypothesis was supported
in a study of 100 psychiatric patients. Orenstein,
Orenstein and Carr (1975) found the same, using 450 college
Assertiveness training has been used to reduce anxiety.
Percell, Berwick and Beigel (1974) used two groups of 12
psychiatric outpatients experiencing problems with social or
interpersonal skills, who were randomly selected, to par-
ticipate in eight sessions of either assertiveness training
or a relationship-control group. The two groups were basi-
cally the same. The Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale was used
as a pre- and post-test. The assertiveness training group
showed a significant decrease in anxiety. The control group
showed no statistically significant change. Lee (1977)
found similar results with a group of nurses who received
assertion training. DeLange (1978) used assertiveness
training with a group of 120 volunteer women who participated
in one of two control conditions over a six-week period. A
significant reduction of anxiety was produced. Lange and
Jakubowski (1976) found that after assertiveness training,
increased assertion correlated with decreased anxiety with a
group of 36 graduate students.
Anxiety and Employment
Almost everyone is apprehensive about looking for a
job. This is completely understandable, because one does
not look for a job that often. Powell (1981) discussed an
individual she was counseling who experienced such anxiety
over finding employment that he visited six different
employment agencies during the job hunt and never entered
any of them. In this situation his fear of being rejected
prevented him from even attempting to become employed.
When one is actually in an interview situation the
ability to communicate is very important. In 1980, North-
western University surveyed 166 employers to determine why
applicants were not offered jobs. The inability to communi-
cate was second on the list. One who experiences a great
deal of anxiety during the interview may not be able to com-
municate the information needed to secure the job. Fraser
(1954) stated, ". In conducting an interview one must
get at the facts of a candidate's previous history, and must
go into it as thoroughly and in as great detail as possible
in the time available. . It is upon these facts alone
that a sound assessment can be established" (p. 32).
Anxiety may also cause problems for the individual who
is employed. Powell (1981) gives an example of such a situ-
ation in the following:
Leon, an engineer with a major oil company, came
to me for help because he experienced severe
anxiety symptoms in business conferences and was
so uncomfortable making sales presentations that
he avoided them whenever possible, though he knew
this behavior was preventing his advancement in
the company. He initially experienced an anxiety
attack while conducting a sales meeting in South
America. Unable to complete his presentation, he
excused himself and sought medical assistance.
This continued for several years. He was referred
to a psychiatrist and was using Valium daily.
After six months of desensitization and assertive
training, medication was significantly decreased
and he was making sales presentations on a regular
basis. He felt optimistic about his chances for
advancement, and his self-image was greatly im-
proved. (p. 163)
The preceding has explored assertiveness and/or non-
assertiveness and how this relates to employment in general.
It has been shown in the review of the literature that
assertiveness plays an important role in seeking employment
and functioning at the work site. This role may be even
more important to the disabled person.
Assertiveness and/or Nonassertiveness and Employment
of the Disabled
The past few years have witnessed an increased emphasis
on the use of assertiveness training in the area of reha-
bilitation (Luck & Lassiter, 1978). Many clients in reha-
bilitation settings have numerous employability handicaps at
the onset of the job seeking process.
Clients who have been institutionalized or hospitalized
may have learned certain behaviors that are detrimental to
them vocationally. Ullman and Krasner (1975) noted that
patients in institutions are taught to be quiet, docile, and
helpful, not assertive, articulate and energetic. Increased
medication and bad reports to one's psychiatrist or doctor
are frequent consequences for assertiveness. The patient
who is hospitalized is frequently rewarded with better care,
treatment, and kindness for being the "good patient."
Patients often enter the world of work with irrational
beliefs based on experiences such as these. These beliefs
may block many social interactions, effective job acquisi-
tion, and job maintenance skills (Pifer, Pychwalski & King,
Family and parental conditioning often follows a simi-
lar vein. Clients may not be encouraged to challenge their
environment and test themselves. They may be treated as
"large children" by family members and parents. The cumula-
tive result is one of conditioned helplessness (Seligman,
1975). The client is unable to cope with either work or
Clients who have been out of the job market for some
time, due to a disability, may be handicapped by a lack of
marketable skills, poor employment record, employer miscon-
ceptions about the candidate's disability, etc. It would
seem that such deficits might be remediated through a job
interviewing skills training program, especially since the
job interview alone often depends on whether the individual
get the job. In a polling of 2,500 employers by Prentice-
Hall Publishing Company and the American Society for
Personal Administration, the evaluation interview was desig-
nated as the single most important employee selection cri-
terion. Stone and Geppert (1979) used assertion training to
enhance job interviewing skills of rehabilitation clients.
Forty clients (31 male and 9 female) from a large midwestern
rehabilitation facility volunteered to serve as partici-
pants. They ranged in age from 18 to 57 years. Primary
disabilities of the clients were varied and included mild
mental retardation, back injury, alcoholism, epilepsy, cere-
bral palsy, and hearing impaired. All clients were enrolled
in work training programs, but none had received any pre-
vious training in job placement or interviewing. Pre- and
post-tests were used. Post-test showed significant positive
effects in the appropriate direction. Stone and Geppert
(1979) stated, ". . with the present emphasis in rehabili-
tation on placement, these findings may present some timely
suggestions. We urge that roleplay training be incorporated
into job seeking skills programs. Clients who learn asser-
tiveness and self-confidence through learning specific
interviewing skills are potentially better prepared in
actual interviews when they begin to seek employment" (p.
Assertiveness training has been used to improve job in-
terviewing and interpersonal skills training for welfare re-
habilitation clients. Successful adjustment to work during
the vocational rehabilitation process seems particularly
difficult for welfare clients of minority race, those of low
socioeconomic status, or those with emotional disabilities.
In a 1954 study, Hana reported supportive findings that in-
dicate that these unemployed persons are often not exposed
to, and therefore do not learn, the interpersonal skills or
attitudes necessary to impress an employer. Barbee and Keil
(1973) also recognized that the hardcore unemployed typically
appear passive and unspontaneous in personal interviews.
Arnold and Ross (1978) used clients receiving services at
the Fort Worth, Texas Rehabilitation Department of Human Re-
sources in an exploratory group treatment program. The
State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Behavioral Assertive-
ness Assessment Procedure Rating Scale were used to measure
anxiety and assertiveness. Results yielded a significant
relative superiority in interview assertiveness for treat-
ment clients (+ = 2.835; p < .025). Arnold and Ross (1978)
stated, ". The differential increase in assertive job
interviewing skills seem to indicate that the brief, two
hour sessions that focused on assertive interviewing skills
were sufficient to produce the desired behavior changes" (p.
For the disabled individual, problems may arise on the
job with co-workers or supervisors making it extremely dif-
ficult to maintain the position. Interpersonal relations
are greatly influenced by disability. Wright (1960) pre-
sented a convincing description of the many forms of discri-
mination experienced by the disabled. As a result of dis-
ability, the person often becomes the recipient of negative
reactions such as discourteous stares, sympathetic offers of
help, remarks of pity or disgust, excessive curiosity, re-
strictions on his/her behavior, and disapproval. The dis-
abled individual must deal with such reactions and acquire a
positive approach to overcoming the social negativity.
Mischel (1978) conducted a study to determine whether asser-
tive training is an effective method for teaching disabled
persons to handle negative treatment from others. Partici-
pants were 14 disabled persons; 9 students and 5 noncollege
students with a mean age of 23 years. Pre- and post-testing
utilized the Behavioral Assertiveness Test, the Activity
Budget, and the Wolpe-Lazarus Assertive Scale. Following
pre-testing, participants were placed in the treatment or
control waiting groups. Treatment subjects met three hours
weekly for five weeks during which they were presented per-
sonal anxiety arousing interpersonal situations which were
used as training items. Training included behavioral
rehearsal, role reversal, modeling, coaching, feedback and
videotaping. Post-test measures revealed that assertion
trained subjects reported significantly greater gains in
assertive behavior and showed greater improvement in perfor-
mance on seven criterion measures than did control subjects.
Transfer of training to the natural environment was evidenced.
This indicates that assertion training could be a valuable
method of helping the disabled deal with co-workers and
supervisors, which has presented problems for rehabilitation
counselors in the past. Among the foremost reasons for
failure of clients placed from vocational rehabilitation
centers in job settings is difficulty in interpersonal work
relations (Pifer, 1978).
Assertiveness/Nonassertiveness and the Epileptic
A study conducted by Joiner, Lovett and Hague (1981)
indicated that individuals with neurological disorders, such
as epilepsy, are clearly deficit in appropriate self-expres-
sion. The Adult Self Expression Scale was used to measure
levels of assertiveness in a sample of 91 applicants for vo-
cational rehabilitation services. The type and frequency of
primary disability claimed was as follows: cardiovascular,
10; neurologic, 16; orthopedic, 26; psychiatric, 11; other,
20. While the subgroup populations were relatively small,
there was rather clear evidence that persons with neurologi-
cal disabilities should be closely assessed in regard to ap-
propriate expression training and a strong likelihood that
almost half of these persons are in need of assertion train-
A number of the variables that have been associated
with nonassertive behavior such as poor self-concept, lack
of confidence, and anxiety have been used frequently in the
literature when discussing personality problems among epi-
Goldin and Margolin (1975) stated that "the person with
epilepsy has difficulties developing a positive self-con-
cept" (p. 71). Dennerll (1970) supported the notion that
epileptics frequently exhibit poor self-concept in the
following: "The chronically unemployed person with epilepsy
is characterized by negative thinking and a low opinion of
self" (p. 78).
Lack of self-confidence is illustrated in the following
example presented by Livingston (1972):
One of our female clients lacked self-confidence
to the degree that she felt she was incapable of
functioning as an employee. Even though she had
a college degree she was absolutely sure no one
would hire her. She regarded herself as inade-
quate and damaged. She was so fearful of being
rejected, she refused to even look for work. In
spite of her parents prodding she stayed home
every day feeling more and more depressed. (p. 213)
Behavioral difficulties observed in epileptic clients
are frequently related to anxiety and/or depressive states
which stem, in most instances, from the fear of being out of
control, fear of injury as a result of the seizure, or fear
of having their disorder exposed to others (Livingston,
1972). Extreme anxiety may prevent the epileptic from being
able to function in any capacity. Clients who conceal their
disorder from employers live in constant anxiety which stems
from the realization that exposure of their condition may
result in dismissal. "The epileptic's anxieties and fears
work to erode self-confidence, family relationships, social
exchanges, and expectations toward getting and holding a
job" (Morgan, 1962, p. 52).
It would seem, then, that there is an association be-
tween nonassertiveness and epilepsy.
The review of the related literature has explored epi-
lepsy in relation to work values and assertiveness. It has
been shown how these two areas may be related to the unem-
ployment problem in this population. Following this conclu-
sion is the methodology section with an explanation of how
this study will be conducted.
The purpose of this study was to investigate work
values and assertiveness in employed and chronically unem-
ployed epileptics. The Adult Self Expression Scale (Gay,
1974) and the Work Values Inventory (Super, 1970) were
administered to a sample of employed and unemployed adult
epilepsys in the North Florida area. The population, sampl-
ing procedures, sample, instruments, data collection proce-
dures and analysis of data are described in this chapter.
To determine the exact number of individuals with epi-
lepsy is virtually impossible. The reason being that epi-
lepsy can be hidden and, due to the stigma attached to the
disorder, it often is hidden. The Epilepsy Foundation of
America (1979) estimates that two percent of the population
has epilepsy. Based on this, there is an estimated 194,800
epileptics in the State of Florida with approximately 3,147
of those individuals living in Alachua County. The Shands
Hospital Neurology Clinic treats approximately 5,000 epilep-
tics of all ages and socioeconomic levels per year.
Subjects for this study consisted of 200 adult epilep-
tics in the North Florida area. Subjects were selected in
order of their scheduled attendance at the Shands Hospital
Neurology Clinic until the sample size of 100 chronically
unemployed adult epileptics and 100 employed adult epilep-
tics were obtained.
Eash day prior to neurology clinic, a complete list was
made of all patients that were scheduled to be seen on that
day. Every patient on the list was individually told, by
the researcher, in detail the purpose of the study and that
their participation was strictly on a voluntary basis. If
they chose to participate they were individually given a
reading sample to assure they could read the WVI and the
ASES without any difficulty. Instructions for taking the
two tests were gone over in detail with each participant.
Four private examining rooms, identical to each other, were
used to administer the tests. Only the examiner and the
patient were present when each test was administered.
The average age for the unemployed was 30.1 and for the
employed 30.5. The average grade completed was unemployed
11.9 and employed 13.1. The average length of disability
for both groups was approximately 13 years. Demographic
characteristics for the two groups can be found in Table 1.
Individuals were used only on a voluntary basis and
Informed Consent Forms were obtained from all subjects. The
Health Center Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects
was contacted and permission was given to use
A letter of approval to conduct the study was
This study tested the following null hypotheses:
1. There is no significant difference in work values be-
tween employed and chronically unemployed epileptics.
2. There is no significant difference in assertiveness
levels between employed and chronically unemployed epi-
3. There is no significant relationship between work values
and assertiveness levels among employed epileptics.
4. There is no significant relationship between work values
and assertiveness levels among chronically unemployed
The two instruments used in this study were the Adult
Self Expression Scale (ASES)(Gay, 1974) and the Work Values
Inventory (WVI)(Super, 1970).
Adult Self Expression Scale
The ASES (Gay, 1974) is a 48 item self-report measure
of assertiveness, designed to be used with adults. It is
based on a two dimensional model of assertiveness. One
dimension specifies interpersonal situations in which asser-
tive behavior might occur, such as interactions with family,
public or friends. The second dimension specifies the as-
sertive behavior that may occur in these situations, such as
expressing feelings or asking favors.
The ASES uses a five point Likert format (0-4). Re-
spondents are asked to answer the questions by indicating
how they generally express themselves in a variety of situa-
tions. The choices for responses are (0) "Almost Always" or
"Always," (1) "Usually," (2) "Sometimes," (3) "Seldom," or
(4) "Never" or "Rarely." The respondents are told their
answers should not reflect how they feel they ought to act
or how they would like to act, but rather how they generally
do act. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete the
ASES (Gay, 1974).
The mean ASES score obtained from 640 adults between
the ages of 18 to 60 was 115, with a standard deviation of
approximately 20. ASES scores falling about 135 or higher
are considered as high scores and scores falling below 95
are considered to be low (Gay, 1974).
Subjects for reliability and validity studies were
selected from a large community college. Test-retest reli-
abilities conducted over two week and five week intervals,
with two samples of subjects resulted in high reliability
coefficients. A Pearson product moment correlation computed
after two week and five week intervals produced reliability
coefficients of .88 and .91 respectively. Internal con-
sistency was determined by correlating the odd/even scores
for 464 subjects. A Pearson product moment correlation re-
sulted in a .79 reliability coefficient (Gay, 1974; Gay,
Hollandsworth & Galassi, 1975).
Several validity studies have been conducted for the
ASES (Gay, 1974 and Hollandsworth, Galassi & Gay, 1977).
Construct validity was established by correlating the total
scores of individuals taking the ASES with their scores on
the 24 scales of the Adjective Check List (ACL). The ASES
was found to correlate positively and significantly (p <
.001) with the number of Adjective Checked, and the Self-
Confidence, Ability, Achievement, Dominance, Affiliation,
Heterosexuality, Exhibition, Autonomy, Aggression and Charge
Scales. A negative correlation was found (p < .001) with
ASES and Succorance, Abasement, and Deference Scales of the
The method of contrasting groups was used to establish
construct validity for the ASES. Thirty-two clients seeking
personal adjustment counseling scored significantly (p < .05)
lower (x = 101.81) on the ASES than did subjects who were
not counseled (x = 114.20). Discriminant validity was es-
tablished for the ASES by examining the relationship between
assertiveness and anxiety, and self-confidence and locus of
control. Anxiety was measured by the Taylor Manifest
Anxiety Scale. Self-confidence was measured by the Self-
Confidence Scale of the Adjective Check List. Locus of con-
trol was measured by Rotter's I-E which is a measure of
generalized expectancy for internal versus external control
of reinforcement. A discriminant analysis resulted in a
significant F value (F(3,54))=9.56, p < .001). The variate
tests for the three variables revealed that anxiety (F(1,56)
= 17.86, p < .291) did not discriminate between low and high
assertive groups (Hollandsworth, Galassi & Gay, 1977).
Covergent and discriminate validity was established by
the Campbell-Fiske multitrait-multimethod procedures.
Convergent validity was established in terms of the ASES'
relationship with the constructs of dominance and abasement
as measured by a self-report method. Discriminant validity
via different assessment methods is only moderate in
strength. The inconsistency of discriminate validity find-
ings may be due to the fact that the ASES assesses asser-
tiveness responses in terms of frequency of response instead
of verbal content of the situation (Hollandsworth, Galassi &
Work Values Inventory
The WVI (Super, 1970) is a 45 item self-report inven-
tory developed to assess the goals which motivate the indi-
vidual to work. It may be used with boys and girls in
junior and senior high school, with college and university
students, and with adults who have completed at least ele-
mentary education. Although the vocabulary is simple enough
for seventh graders, it is acceptable to graduate students,
executives or professional men and women.
The WVI is designed primarily for use in counseling in
schools, colleges and community agencies. As a self-report
instrument it is subject to deliberate and unconscious
distortion, as subjects seek to impress the user of the in-
ventory or to gratify their needs by portraying themselves
in a particular way. When motivation is good, and when the
subject is interested in understanding themselves or in
making wise decisions, deliberate distortion need not be a
matter of concern. Unconscious distortion may in some
instances prevent a true picture of the person's values from
emerging, but the values which a person would unconsciously
like to be seen as possessing represent real drives which
may have quite as much predictive value as those which
he/she actually does hold.
The original form of the WVI was a 210 item forced-
choice and 15 item subscale; this was reduced to the current
form of the WVI with 45 items and 15 item subscale. The
source of items was the literature on values and on job sat-
isfaction, which served as a basis for writing trial items.
The reinforcement of items was done several times, in a
series of tape recorded interviews with eighth grade boys as
to the meaning they saw in the items, and of essays written
by other junior high school pupils on the meaning of these
items and constructs. Item refinement was also carried out
in two series of experiments in which items typed on 3x5
cards were sorted and labelled by young men in order to as-
certain uniformity of understanding, or internal consistency
of scales. Inventories made up of the seemingly best items
were tried out, item analyzed, and examined for test-retest
Factor analyses have been carried out to further
clarify the meaning of the scales developed. Several for-
mats were tried; forced-choice, rank order, and rating on a
five point scale, singly and in combination. The rating of
each value statement proved to be the most reliable method,
and it was chosen despite the fact that this meant the loss
of some differentiating power.
A variety of curricular groups in high school, college
and technical school programs have been tested, as have men
and women in various professions, business occupations,
skilled trades and semi-skilled jobs. No predictive studies
have as yet been completed.
Occupational norms are currently being accumulated for
this form. Though such norms are not yet available, occu-
pational and post high school curricular data obtained on
the earlier 210 item forced-choice and 15 item subscale does
The WVI has no actual time limit, but most people
finish within 10 to 15 minutes--20 minutes at the most. The
WVI uses a Likert scale. Respondents are asked to answer
the questions by indicating how important it is or would be
to them. The choices for responses are (A5) "Very Impor-
tant," (A4) "Important," (A3) "Moderately Important," (A2)
"Of Little Importance," and (Al) "Unimportant." Each item
has a possible value of 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 and the total of the
values assigned to the three items for each of the fifteen
scales yields the raw score for each scale. Therefore, each
scale may have a raw score as high as 15 or as low as 3. If
an item is skipped, the assigned weight for that item is 3.
There are fifteen subscales in the WVI.
1. Altruism--this work value, or goal, is present in
work which enables one to contribute to the welfare
2. Esthetic--a value inherent in work which permits
one to make beautiful things and to contribute
beauty to the world.
3. Creativity--a value associated with work which per-
mits one to invent new things, design new products,
or develop new ideas.
4. Intellectual Stimulation--associated with work
which provides opportunity for independent thinking
and for learning how and why things work.
5. Achievement--a value associated with work which
gives one a feeling of accomplishment in doing a
6. Independence--associated with work which permits
one to work in his/her own way, as fast or as
slowly as they wish.
7. Prestige--work which gives one standing in the eyes
of others and evokes respect.
8. Management--work which permits one to plan and lay
out work for others to do.
9. Economic Returns--work which pays well and enables
one to have things he/she wants.
10. Security--work which provides one with the cer-
tainty of having a job.
11. Surroundings--work which is carried out under plea-
12. Supervisory Relations--work which is carried out
under a supervisor who is fair and with whom one
can get along with.
13. Associates--work which brings one into contact with
fellow workers who are liked.
14. Way of Life--associated with the kind of work that
permits one to live the kind of life he/she chooses.
15. Variety--work that provides an opportunity to do
different types of jobs.
Scales which are developed on the basis of a logic de-
rived from theory and research, and refined by internal con-
sistency methods, as were those of the WVI, generally show a
significant number of positive intercorrelations. This is
especially true of scales which consist of rated items
rather than of forced-choice items, for in the former re-
sponse sets tend to inflate the true correlations, and in
the latter the fact of preferring one alternative precludes
making a positive response to the other option and thus
makes the obtained correlations lower than the true (Super,
In younger boys, seventh graders, there are no correla-
tions as high as .50; that which is highest in twelfth
graders (Economic Returns-Security) being .45; there are 44
equal to or exceeding .30. For girls the comparable figures
are as follows: (1) for correlations of .50 or more there
are four in grade 12, none in grade 7; (2) for correlations
of .30 or more there are thirty-nine in grade 12, thirty-
four in grade 7. The highest are again those for Material
factor scales, Economic Returns and Security and correlating
.58 for twelfth grade girls and .475 for seventh grade girls.
girls. The Intellectual Stimulation and Creativity scales
are somewhat less correlated for girls than for boys, fall-
ing below the .50 mark (.45 and .32 for grades 12 and 7).
It is clear that there is considerable overlap between the
Economic Returns, Security, Surroundings and Supervisory
scales; that there is considerable overlap between the
Intellectual Stimulation and Creativity scales in males but
less in females; and the amount of overlap is less in early
adolescence than in later adolescence.
O'Connor and Kinnane (1961) used a form of the WVI
which consisted of 30 items (two statements for each value)
rated on a four point scale--an earlier form which antici-
pated the present 45 item, five point scale form. They
administered the WVI to 191 male college students, made in-
dividual frequency distributions and dichomotized each item
as closely to the mean as possible. Tetrachoric correla-
tions between items were computed and the matrix was fac-
tored by the complete centroid method until six factors were
extracted; these were totaled until a simple structure solu-
tion was achieved. An attempt was made to extract second
order factors, but none were found. The first order factors
appeared to be identifiable as shown in the following:
Factor A: Security--Economic--Material
Factor B: Social--Artistic
Factor C: Work Conditions and Associates
Factor D: Heuristic--Creative
Factor E: Achievement--Prestige
Factor F: Independence--Variety
O'Connor and Kinnane (1961) relate their findings to
Ginzberg's (1951) and Super's (1957) discussions of work
values. They stated, "It would seem that there is no justi-
fication for combining into one category the rewards of work
such as pay and prestige, and the products of work such as
the good done to others, the creation of beautiful things,
and the material objects provided." Ginzberg's classifica-
tion of work satisfaction is too broad and each category
contains work values which are relatively independent of
each other (p. 7).
The content of the fifteen present scales was designed
to deal with the same fifteen values as the scales used on
earlier research forms. The selection of new items by sort-
ing a scrambled item pool which included both original and
new items, retaining only reliably sorted items for each
scale, and item correlation data reported in the following
(Table 2) confirms this.
Correlation of New Items with Original Item Based on 99
10th Grade Students
Size of Correlation Frequency Percent
0.43 to 0.59 17 28
0.60 to 0.59 24 40
0.70 to 0.79 15 25
0.80 and greater 4 7
Test-retest reliabilities, means, and standard devia-
tions are reported in Table 3. In this study, the current
(1968-69) form of the WVI was administered two weeks apart
to a sample of 99 high school students in a suburb of Albany,
H e 0 e H) n n en e ID e 0I n I 0* 0
U I ,l m CO ce ce Ce 0 ce ce ce ce o Ce en C c
2 S l -' r' i" o' o or N o ^ o ^ o or O
oC C 0* o H N en N en Ce N .
p^ 2 B D 10 c; r 3 ^ r;
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(U CC C) 4- CC C)O` i
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Cr DC H- H-- C C) C -C CC C)
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New York. The differences found between mean scores for
males and females (Table 3) were not significant when tested
statistically, although the apparent differences are consis-
tent with related findings; girls appear to exhibit higher
scores for Altruism and lower scores for Economic Returns
than do boys.
It is clear from this information that the 15 scales of
this short 45 item inventory in which each scale consists of
three items, are internally consistent and stable over a
time interval of two weeks. The lowest retest reliability
is .74, the highest .88, and the median is .83.
Construct validity is often shown by the correlations
of the test in question with appropriate scales of other
tests designed to assess the same traits. The WVI, as a
measure of values, has been studied in relation to the
Allport-Vernon-Lindzay Study of Values as a direct measure
of values, and to the Strong Vocational Interest Blank and
the Kuder Preference Record (vocational) as indirect
measures of values. It should be borne in mind that all
correlations reported, whether positive or negative, are
necessarily somewhat lowered because of the positive nature
of either or both of the instruments employed. They may,
therefore, be regarded as underestimates.
WVI Form D and Strong's Vocational Interest Blank with
fifty-two Peace Corpsmen r=.23, p=.05 one-tailed; r=.27,
p=.05 two-tailed. WVI Form B and Kuder Preference Record
Vocational Form CH with eighty-five Boston University fresh-
men r=.18, p=.05 one-tailed; r=.21, p=.05 two-tailed. WVI
1968-69 and Allport-Vernon-Lindzay Study of Values with 304
twelfth grade boys r=.055, p=.05 one-tailed; r=.ll, p=.05
two-tailed. Subscales were correlated for each of the in-
struments with the WVI, the correlations ranged from .01 to
The case for the content validity of the WVI rests on
the phrasing of items on the basis of a study of the litera-
ture on values, and on the revamping of the items in light
of their comprehension by teenagers and young adults.
Values are often thought of as manifestations of per-
sonality traits and adjustments, as well as being related to
the activities in which they may be achieved (Super, 1970).
For this reason, the first kind of theoretically based
concurrent validation to assay may be the correlations be-
tween WVI scales and scores on personality and adjustment
measures. Few significant relationships were found in one
study of 9th grade boys (Super, 1962). Academic ability,
school achievement, and extracurricular activity has been
studied in relation to WVI (Super, 1962) with results which
are generally negative.
Although it is true that choice of curriculum in the
junior year and even senior high school is determined large-
ly by sex, socioeconomic status, and intellectual level, it
seems likely that values are part of the same complex con-
stellation of determinants. Curricular differences, in
grades 7-12, are in most instances no greater than one raw
score point or one half of a standard deviation. The light
differences which do appear are: boys in the college
preparatory curriculum have slightly higher mean scores on
Intellectual Stimulation values than do boys in Commercial
and Vocational curricula, and somewhat lower means on
Economic Returns than Commercial pupils, while Vocational
students are a little higher on Esthetic values. These and
other differences, which appear to contribute to the con-
struct validity of the WVI, are not great enough to be of
practical value in counseling or in selection. Curricular
differences at higher educational levels may well prove sig-
nificant, for studies using other methods of reporting, and
the existence of occupational differences with the WVI
support this expectation. Data with earlier forms of the
WVI do show value differences between various types of
technical and business institute studies.
Differences in grade groups can be expected to reflect,
to a high degree, whatever age differences might exist.
Hana (1954) used the WVI to demonstrate a lack of age and
grade differences in values during the junior and senior
high school years. Boys appear to show some slight decrease
in Altruism as they progress from grade 7 to grade 12, and a
similar decrease in Esthetics scores is noticeable. Girls
show grade changes in values which are generally similar to
those suggested in both.
Values have frequently been observed to differ with
sex. Girls tend to make slightly higher scores on the
Altruism scale in the twelfth grade, but differ less if at
all in the seventh, at which level sex differences in values
are truly negative. Boys tend to make higher scores on the
Independence scale in twelfth grade, but the difference in
seventh grade is negligible. The greater concern of girls
with human values, and the greater stress put by boys on
independence are such as one might expect to find with a
values inventory. None of the differences are clear cut,
for the two sexes overlap considerably on each value scale.
Data on the occupational predictor validity of the WVI
are now being collected.
Analysis of Data
Parametric statistics were used to analyze the data for
this study. A sample of employed and chronically unemployed
epileptics in the North Florida area were utilized. The
discrete data variable was the unemployed and employed
status. The continuous data variables were the scores from
the ASES and the WVI.
A t-test for independent samples was used to determine
if significant differences exist between the employed and
chronically unemployed epileptics on the WVI and for the
A Pearson product moment correlation was utilized to
determine if a significant relationship exists between the
WVI and the ASES for the chronically unemployed and the em-
A .05 alpha level of significance was used for all
analysis in this study.
The purpose of this study was to investigate work
values and assertiveness in employed and chronically unem-
ployed adult epileptics. Previous chapters have established
a need for the study, reviewed literature pertinent to the
subject and outlined research procedures. This chapter will
present statistical analyses of results.
A t-test for independent groups was used to determine
if significant differences exist in assertiveness and work
values between the employed and chronically unemployed adult
epileptic. A Pearson product moment correlation was uti-
lized to determine if a significant relationship between the
Adult Self Expression Scale (ASES) and the Work Values In-
ventory (WVI) exists for the employed group and for the
chronically unemployed group. An alpha level of .05 was
used for all the data analysis.
Hypothesis 1: There are no significant differences in
work values between employed and chronically unemployed
epileptics. The results of the t-test, means and standard
deviations appear in Table 4.
Work Values Inventory
Mean Deviation t-test Probability
Unemployed 134.4 26.7 -10.8155 .0001
Employed 172.7 23.1
The range of scores for the chronically unemployed
group was 76-193. The range of scores for the employed was
122 to 257. A t-value equal to -10.8155 was obtained with a
probability of obtaining that value at .0001. The null hy-
pothesis was rejected. Employed epileptics scored signifi-
cantly higher on the WVI than chronically unemployed epilep-
Hypothesis 2: There is no significant difference in
assertiveness levels between employed and chronically unem-
ployed epileptics. The results of the t-tests, means and
standard deviations appear in Table 5.
Adult Self Expression Scale
Mean Deviation t-test Probability
Unemployed 78.8 21.6 -7.82 .0001
Employed 105.1 25.6
The minimum value scored on the ASES was 10 and the
maximum value was 119 for the chronically unemployed group.
The minimum value scored by the employed group was 59 and
the maximum value was 163. A t-value equal to -7.8255 was
obtained with the probability of obtaining that value at
.0001. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. The
employed group scored significantly higher on the ASES than
the chronically unemployed group.
Hypothesis 3: There is no significant relationship be-
tween work values and assertiveness levels among employed
epileptics. Table 6 presents the correlation coefficients
and the probability of obtaining that coefficient. The
Pearson product correlation yielded a correlation coeffi-
cient equal to .5554 with a probability of obtaining that
coefficient of .0001. The correlation is moderately high
and it is significant at the .0001 level. There is a sig-
nificant relationship between assertiveness levels and work
values as measured by the ASES and the WVI for employed
Employed Epileptics: Correlations of ASES with WVI
ASES 1.000 .5554
WVI .5554 1.000
Hypothesis 4: There is no significant relationship be-
tween work values and assertiveness levels among chronically
unemployed epileptics. Table 7 presents the correlation co-
efficients and the probability of obtaining that coefficient.
The Pearson product correlation yielded a correlation coef-
ficient equal to .3370 with a probability of obtaining that
correlation equal to .0006. The correlation is moderate and
it is significant at the .0006 level. Therefore, the null
hypothesis was rejected.
Chronically Unemployed Epileptics: Correlation of
ASES with WVI
ASES 1.0 .3370
WVI .3370 1.0
SUMMARY, RESULTS, LIMITATIONS, CONCLUSION, IMPLICATIONS
This research was done to determine if assertiveness
levels and/or work values were significantly different be-
tween chronically unemployed and employed adult epileptics.
The literature has indicated that the assertive individual
is more likely to become employed than the nonassertive in-
dividual and that there is a strong likelihood almost half
of the persons with neurological disabilities, such as epi-
lepsy, are in need of assertion training. Epilepsy may
strike at any age, but it is predominantly a disorder of
youth. At least three fourths of all individuals with this
disorder experienced their first seizure previous to age
twenty. The literature has suggested that the individual who
experiences the early onset of a disability often does not
follow the same maturation process in developing work values
and work roles that the "normal" child may experience.
The results of this research showed
1. There was a significant difference between chronic-
ally unemployed and employed adult epileptics on
assertiveness levels as measured by the Adult Self
Expression Scale (ASES). The employed adult epi-
leptic scored significantly higher on the ASES than
the chronically unemployed adult epileptic,
2. There was a significant difference between chronic-
ally unemployed and employed adult epileptics on
work values as measured by the Work Values Inven-
tory (WVI). The employed adult epileptic scored
significantly higher than the chronically unem-
ployed adult epileptic on the WVI.
3. There was significant positive relationship be-
tween assertiveness levels and work values as
measured by the Adult Self Expression Scale and
the Work Values Inventory for employed adult epi-
leptics and chronically unemployed adult epileptics.
Based on the results of this study, null hypotheses 1,
2, 3, and 4 were rejected.
There were some limitations in this study that need to
be considered. The selection of subjects was not random.
Rather, the sample was based on the subjects' availability
and willingness to participate in this research. In addi-
tion, the instruments used in this study were self-report
measures. Self-reported responses may be enhanced when
compared to in vivo responses. Thus, one might be cautious
in generalizing to observable behaviors (Gorecki, Dickson,
Anderson & Jones, 1981). Validity appears to be low for the
WVI. Environmental limitations may also exist, in that the
tests were administered in a clinic previous to the partici-
pant's seeing their neurologist.
The average grade completed was unemployed 11.9 and
employed 13.1. Although this is not statistically signifi-
cant it is significant in that the unemployed group was less
than the 12.0 of a high school degree and the employed aver-
age of 13.1 was more than the high school degree. The
higher education level of the employed could make this group
Based on the results of this study, assertion training
and values clarification may be a valuable and worthwhile
activity in the rehabilitation process of the chronically
unemployed adult epileptic. The results indicate that em-
ployed adult epileptics are significantly more assertive
than chronically unemployed adult epileptics when the trait
is measured by the self-report Adult Self Expression Scale.
Likewise, the results indicate that employed adult epilep-
tics are significantly higher in work values as measured by
the self-report Work Values Inventory. These findings sug-
gest the higher ones work values and assertiveness level the
more likely it is that the individual will be employed.
Based on this study, there is a need for assertion
training and values clarification with the chronically unem-
ployed adult epileptic. Additional research is needed to
determine the outcome of such training.
Numerous studies indicate counselors lack knowledge and
skills in working with the unique problems of the epileptic
client (Jacks & Toubbeh, 1975; Muthard, 1975, and Wright,
Gibbs & Linde, 1962). Yet, a review of the literature shows
little attention being paid to changing this shortcoming.
"Efforts to help the client with epilepsy have basically re-
mained in the medical treatment domain, yet the consequences
faced by the client with epilepsy more often occur in so-
ciety" (Hopkins & Scambler, 1977, p. 43).
The Epilepsy Foundation of America (1979) stated that
one of the major problems the epileptic population faces in
society is unemployment. During the past ten years, unem-
ployment among persons with epilepsy has reached 25-30
percent. A survey conducted by Jacks and Toubbeh (1975) in-
dicated that a major need in the rehabilitation of the epi-
leptic is further exploration of why employment is the major
problem for this population and how counselors can become
more effective in solving that problem.
This study investigated work values and assertiveness
in employed and chronically unemployed adult epileptics. A
review of the literature showed that the assertive indivi-
dual is more likely to become employed than the nonassertive
individual. During the job interview, for example, people
should be assertive enough to communicate their desire to
have the job and their ability to perform whatever tasks are
involved at the job. The literature also indicated that the
early onset of a disability such as epilepsy may influence
the formation of work values. The child who is born with,
or experiences the early onset of a disability often does
not follow the same maturation process in developing work
values that the "normal" child may experience. This is
especially significant with a disorder such as epilepsy,
since 75 percent of these individuals experience the onset
of their disorder previous to age twenty.
This investigation has important implications for the
rehabilitation counselor working with the chronically
unemployed adult epileptic. The results of this study
showed that employed adult epileptics are significantly
higher in assertiveness levels and work values than the
chronically unemployed adult epileptics. This suggests that
by increasing assertiveness levels and/or work values in the
chronically unemployed adult epileptics they would be more
likely to become employed. For rehabilitation counselors
working with the chronically unemployed adult epileptic the
implications are that by teaching assertiveness and/or uti-
lizing work values clarification they could experience a
greater degree of success in placing these individuals in
gainful employment. Since a positive relationship exists
between assertion and work values, providing one of those
services may increase both levels and decrease duplication
of services. This way counselors would provide one inter-
vention rather than two. This could save time and money,
which would be beneficial for the counselor and the client.
Additional research is needed to determine if the in-
crease in work values and/or assertiveness has an effect
upon the individuals gaining employment. Based on this
study, assertion training and values modification are needed
in the rehabilitation process of the chronically unemployed
The following are suggested recommendations for further
1. Teach assertiveness training to a group of chronic-
ally unemployed epileptics to determine if they
become employed. Also to see if by raising asser-
tiveness levels work values are increased.
2. Utilize values clarification with the chronically
unemployed epileptic to see if they become employed
as a result. Also to see if by raising work values
assertiveness levels are increased.
3. Additional studies of family, age of onset, degree
of control, type of medication, etc. to see what
effects these variables may have on work values and
4. A longitudinal study in which the WVI and the ASES
would be administered to a group of pediatric epi-
leptics followed up, after a period of years, in
which the same population would be retested to de-
termine what changes may have occurred as a result
of living with their disability.
Shands Teaching Hospital, Gainesville, Florida
INFORMED CONSENT FORM
This information is for research purposes only. Your
participation is entirely voluntary. All information that
you give is strictly confidential. The entire process will
take approximately 45 minutes. Thank you for participating.
You will be given two(2) questionnaires to fill out.
The orange questionnaire is designed to provide information
about the way you express yourself. The white one is de-
signed to provide information on your feelings toward work.
There will be no monetary compensation. Please read
the following statement and sign at the bottom.
I have read and I understand the procedure described
above. I agree to participate in the procedure and
I have received a copy of this description.
Jean Davis Gray
Epilepsy Services Program
Box J-296 JHMHC, Gainesville
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Jean Davis Gray was born in Ocala, Florida on August
18, 1948. She lived in Ocala until age three when she moved
to Gainesville, Florida. Upon graduation from Gainesville
High School in 1966, she attended Santa Fe Community College
and completed her Associate of Arts degree. She received a
Bachelor of Arts degree in special education in June, 1970
from the University of Florida. She taught for four years
in the public school system and one year at a private school
prior to returning to the University of Florida to continue
her education. Jean completed completed her master's degree
in rehabilitation counseling in June, 1979. Upon graduation
she began working as the coordinator for Epilepsy Services,
District III, State of Florida. Jean continued working in
that position while pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree
which she completed in December, 1982.
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Paul Fitzerald, Chairman
Professor of Counselor
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Counselor
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Pr fessor of
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
the Department of Counselor Education in the College of
Education and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dean for Graduate Studies
UNIVERSITY OF F11ORPAII
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