Publication Date

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Clifton Oyamot


performance expectations, self-affirmation, statistics, stereotype threat, women

Subject Areas

Social research


Stereotype threat (fear of confirming a negative group stereotype that in turn can inhibit academic performance) has been implicated in the gender gap observed in the field of mathematics. Even though stereotype threat depresses women's performance, there has been much research reporting various interventions that ameliorate its negative effects. The current study investigated stereotype threat specifically in statistics--an unexplored area in the research literature --and the alleviating effects of self-affirmation. Participants in three conditions (control, stereotype threat, stereotype threat + affirmation) completed a statistics test. In both stereotype threat conditions participants were given a verbal prime to induce stereotype threat, but only the stereotype threat + affirmation condition was given the affirmation task. The predictions that stereotype threat would depress women's statistics performance and that self-affirmation would minimize stereotype threat were not supported. How a performance expectation relates to a successful stereotype threat prime was discussed as are study limitations and directions for future research.