Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study was designed to test the main effects and interaction effects of applicant sex, applicant physical attractiveness, rater sex, and rater sex-role stereotype on the ratings of applicants in the screening phase of undergraduate student admission procedures. The participants were undergraduate students in the allied health sciences at a regional university in the southeast. The experimental task consisted of rating hypothetical applicants on overall suitability, a series of adjectives which reflect personality characteristics of the applicant, and assigning causal attributions for the past performance of the candidate. Each subject evaluated four hypothetical applicants: attractive male, unattractive male, attractive female and unattractive female. The four independent variables yielded a 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design. Rater sex and sex-role stereotype were between-group factors and applicant sex and applicant attractiveness were repeated measures. Results of the repeated measures analysis of variance on the ratings of the candidate's overall suitability indicated that attractive applicants were rated higher than unattractive applicants; male applicants were rated higher than female applicants; and suitability ratings from female raters were significantly higher than the ratings from male raters. There was no main effect for the rater's sex-role stereotype. Analysis also revealed that there were two significant interactions which affected candidate ratings; the rater sex/applicant attractiveness interaction and the applicant sex/rater sex-role stereotype interaction. Analysis of the bipolar adjectives revealed that high levels of attractiveness were associated with positive traits and low levels of attractiveness were associated with negative traits. The analyses of the causal attributions revealed a significant main effect for applicant attractiveness on the ratings for ability, effort and luck. The past performance of attractive applicants was attributed to a higher level of ability and effort; the past performance of unattractive applicants was attributed to luck.