Date of Completion

2017

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Psychological Science

Type of Thesis

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Keith B. Burt, Ph.D.

Keywords

stereotype threat, math, women, vulnerability, individual differences, gender

Abstract

Research suggests that stereotype threat—which occurs when a social group feels anxiety about confirming a negative stereotype about their group—may play a role in gender gaps in STEM, but it is important to identify individual differences in vulnerability to stereotype threat. Two-hundred and fourteen participants, ranging in age from 18 to 36 (53.3% female, 18.7% ethnic minority) were recruited from three sections of a university introductory calculus class. Participants completed measures of personality, math self-concept, math self-efficacy, anxiety sensitivity, assertiveness, neighborhood social capital, grades, and demographic questions. Stereotype vulnerability was measured as the primary outcome measure using the Stereotype Vulnerability Scale (SVS). Analyses showed that conscientiousness (r = -.26, p = .006) and social cohesion (r = -.29, p = .002) were negatively associated with stereotype vulnerability in women. Both variables remained significant predictors of SVS when controlling for other predictors. Predicted grade was the strongest predictor of course grade for both genders. High levels of conscientiousness and orderliness as well as social support acted to reduce stereotype vulnerability and should be investigated further through an experimental design to better understand their relationship with stereotype threat.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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