Endorsing a negative in-group stereotype as a self-protective strategy: Sacrificing the group to save the self Academic Article uri icon


  • This work examined if stigmatized targets will embrace negative in-group stereotypes in order to protect their self-esteem from the threat of stereotypic failures. All studies focused on the stereotype that women have lower math ability than men. In Study 1, women who failed a math test showed buffered self-esteem if they were first given the opportunity to endorse this stereotype. Study 2 replicated this effect and showed that women, but not men, increased their endorsement of this stereotype following math failure. Study 3 showed that the tendency to embrace this stereotype in response to failure was most pronounced among women with high trait self-esteem. Together, these findings suggest that there are contexts in which stigmatized individuals can protect their self-esteem in the face of stereotypic failures by embracing the very stereotypes that would have predicted their failure. 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

altmetric score

  • 7.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Burkley, M., & Blanton, H.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Burkley, Melissa||Blanton, Hart

publication date

  • January 2008