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Multiple Identity Activation as Stereotype Threat Protection

Chen, Susie (2018) Multiple Identity Activation as Stereotype Threat Protection. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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People face threats daily –threats to their self-esteem, belonging, and sense of self. The current proposal explored a solution for these threats through utilizing the positive power of social identities. Past work has shown that social identities benefit the individual in a multitude of ways (e.g. increasing self-esteem or sense of belonging). Therefore, I predicted that thinking of multiple social identities important to the self would activate these positive outcomes, which in turn would serve as protection in the face of threat. I first explored the relationship between self-esteem, importance of identities, and number of identities generated, as there is little research investigating the number of identities from which individuals derive benefits. In Study 1, participants were asked to come up with a specific number of identities important to the self, followed by measurements of identity importance, difficulty of listing identities, and self-esteem.
Identity importance tapered off after listing five identities, suggesting the presence of diminishing returns for the self after priming more than five identities. Using these results, Study 2 tested the main hypothesis of multiple identity activation on identity threat protection. In this study, female participants listed no identities, a singular identity, or five identities, followed by a gender stereotype threat (i.e. women underperforming in math), and quantitative task. Results of Study 2 did not support the prediction that generating multiple identities would protect against stereotype threat. Unexpectedly, participants who received the stereotype threat performed better on the math task compared to those who did not receive the threat, contradicting the expected effect of the threat. Additional moderation analyses and possible reasons for the observed pattern of analyses are discussed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Chen, Susiesusiechen@pitt.edususiechen
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBinning, Kevin R.kbinning@pitt.eduKBINNING
Committee MemberLevine, John M.jml@pitt.edujml
Committee MemberOrehek, Edwardorehek@pitt.eduOREHEK
Committee MemberNokes-Malach, Timothy J.nokes@pitt.edunokes
Date: 29 January 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 August 2017
Approval Date: 29 January 2018
Submission Date: 1 November 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 60
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: social identity, stereotype threat, bias, performance
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 21:03
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 21:03


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