Stereotype Threat - Long-term and Other Consequences

Long-term and Other Consequences

Decreased performance is the most recognized consequence of stereotype threat, however studies have also shown that stereotype threat can also lead individuals blaming themselves for perceived failures, self-handicap, discount the value and validity of tests and other performance tasks, distance themselves from negatively stereotyped groups, and disengage from situations and environments that are perceived as threatening.

Over the long-term, the chronic experience of stereotype threat may lead individuals to dis-identify with the group which received the stereotype. For example, a woman may stop seeing herself as "a math person" after experiencing a series of situations in which she experienced stereotype threat. This dis-identification is thought to be a psychological coping strategy to maintain self-esteem in the face of failure. Repeated exposure to anxiety and nervousness can lead individuals to choose to distance themselves from the stereotyped group.

Although much of the research on stereotype threat has examined the effects of coping with negative stereotype on academic performance, recently there has been an emphasis on how coping with stereotype threat could "spillover" to dampen self-control and thereby affect a much broader category of behaviors, even in non-stereotyped domains. Research by Michael Inzlicht suggests that when women cope with negative stereotype about their math ability, they perform worse on math tests. However, even after they have completed the math test, they may continue to show deficits even in unrelated domains; for example, they might be more aggressive, they might overeat, they may make risky decisions; they might even show less endurance during physical exercise.

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