Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Appearance-Related Math Stereotypes and the Development of Gender Disparities in STEM

Maheux, Anne (2023) Appearance-Related Math Stereotypes and the Development of Gender Disparities in STEM. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF
Primary Text
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 6 September 2025.

Download (1MB) | Request a Copy


The gender gap in math-intensive STEM fields negatively impacts women and the global economy. STEM professionals are often stereotyped as unkempt, uninvested in their appearance, and unattractive. These appearance-related math stereotypes (ARMS) may negatively affect adolescent girls’ engagement with STEM fields, given that appearance investment is a key feminine norm. ARMS may differentially affect girls of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, yet an intersectional lens is rarely applied to understand disparities in STEM. Across 4 studies with U.S. adolescents using diverse methodological approaches, I investigate the prevalence of ARMS among adolescents, how ARMS endorsement is associated with math motivation and performance, and differences in these associations by gender and race/ethnicity. Study 1 (high school students, n = 323) piloted a novel experimental paradigm to investigate how adolescents use ARMS to evaluate others. In Study 2 (high school students, n = 168), I piloted a self-report ARMS Scale, finding preliminary evidence of associations between ARMS endorsement and worse math motivation. Study 3 (middle school students, n = 1654) replicated these preliminary findings and found evidence of differences by gender. Study 4 (middle school students, n = 1604) further extended these results with a longitudinal design and a novel measure of implicit ARMS endorsement, finding some differences by intersectional gender and racial/ethnic groups. Broadly, findings suggest that ARMS endorsement is negatively associated with math outcomes among youth, with stronger links between ARMS endorsement and some math motivation components (e.g., math self-concept) among girls relative to boys.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Maheux, Anneajm303@pitt.eduajm3030000-0003-1308-5798
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairChoukas-Bradley, Sophiascb.1@pitt.eduscb.1
Committee MemberVotruba-Drzal, Elizabethevotruba@pitt.eduevotruba
Committee MemberSilk, Jenniferjss4@pitt.edujss4
Committee MemberSchumann, Karinakschumann@pitt.edukschumann
Committee MemberManke-Miller,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 April 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 30 April 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 106
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescence; STEM; gender; appearance; stereotypes
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2023 17:46
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 17:46


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item