Smittick, Amber Leola (2019-12). The In-Between: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Stereotype Threat Effects on Mediators of the Stereotype Threat-Performance Relationship. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Stereotype threat is an important phenomenon in educational and organizational settings as it results in lower test scores for minority and women test takers on high stakes tests used for selection, promotional, and educational attainment purposes (Nguyen & Ryan, 2008; Steele, 1997). Although a great deal of research attention has been devoted to investigating stereotype threat effects on test performance, less is known about the processes that underlie these effects. To better understand the underlying processes of stereotype threat, the current study provides a qualitative and quantitative review of the effects of stereotype threat on mediators of the stereotype-threat performance relationship. The dissertation provides and tests a model of stereotype threat's effect on cognitive test performance through several proposed affective, cognitive, and motivational mediators. The results of the meta-analysis show that most of mediator effect sizes followed a pattern that was consistent with the hypotheses. Specifically, stereotype threatened individuals had higher levels of anxiety and physiological arousal, more distracting (negative) thoughts, and demonstrated increased levels of effort than non-stereotype threatened individuals. They also had lower working memory capacity and decreased performance expectations. However, although the general pattern was in the hypothesized direction across the mediators many of the effect sizes could not meaningfully be interpreted because of large confidence intervals that included zero. Additionally, when looking across the within- and between group design the results were not consistent. Altogether although many of the study hypotheses were not supported, the results for anxiety and effort do begin to provide some clarity in understanding the processes through which stereotype threat impacts test performance. Furthermore, the lack of an interpretable pattern of effects across the within- and between-group mediator results highlights a need to continue to move forward in understanding the processes that underlie stereotype threat effects in a more strategic manner.

publication date

  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019