Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Me, Women, and Math: The Role of Personal and Collective Threats in the Experience of Stereotype Threat
by Rucks, Lana Juliette, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2008, 117; 10631242
Abstract (Summary)

Stereotype threat is a psychological predicament that arises when a person fears that an individual underperformance will support the veracity of a negative social group characterization. Research suggests that stereotype threat has important implications for the personal self as well as the collective self, although no study has systematically investigated the role of self-representation as antecedents to stereotype threat. The purpose of the current project was to meet that objective by teasing apart stereotype threat into these components. Study 1 investigated individual differences in chronic collective and personal threats in a situation where explicit performance expectations were removed. Women low in both a chronic personal threat and a chronic collective threat performed better on a difficult math test than women high in both of these chronic threats experienced together or separately. However, chronic collective threat and chronic personal threat were not effectively isolated. To address this limitation, Study 2 replicated Study 1, using an experimental methodology. Study 2 demonstrated that the collective threat and personal threat components of stereotype could indeed be isolated. Women who experienced a collective threat performed better than women who experienced a personal threat with or without a collective threat and women who experienced no threat. Moreover, there was a tendency for women who experienced both threats to perform worse than women who experienced a personal threat and women not threatened suggesting that stereotype threat may be the consequence of the simultaneous experience of a personal threat and a collective threat, that is, a dual threat . Study 3 attempted to provide converging evidence of the dual threat conceptualization of stereotype threat. Women were presented with a task intended to buffer against a personal threat to alleviate the consequences of stereotype threat, and thus replicate Study 2 by showing that collective threat enhances performance. There were no differences among women who received personal threat buffering instructions and those who did not, although, ancillary measures suggest that the intended phenomenology was not achieved. The implications of these findings to the theoretical underpinnings of stereotype threat are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Arkin, Robert
Commitee: Arkin, Robert, Brewer, Marilynn, Petty, Richard
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics, Social psychology, Womens studies, Psychology, Gender studies
Keywords: Collective self, Personal self, Social identification, Stereotype threat
Publication Number: 10631242
ISBN: 9780355015157
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