Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Katherine S. Corker

Abstract

Over the last few decades, researchers have sought to identify the reason for the gender gap in STEM careers and in math performance, especially on standardized tests. Stereotype threat is commonly thought of as a robust effect that can explain this achievement gap, and some researchers suggest that different types of threat have different impacts on performance. Stereotype threat has been linked to achievement goals, such that adopting a performance-avoidance orientation helps buffer threatened individuals against the negative impact of threat on performance (Chalabaev et al., 2012). The current study examines the moderation of stereotype threat by performance-avoidance goals within two types of threats. Using a sample of 590 American adult females from Mechanical Turk, I administered a survey online based on the design of the two studies from Chalabaev et al. (2012). Results showed no significant main or interaction effects for stereotype threat or performance-avoidance goals, despite multiple controls in place for math experience. I conclude that the effect of stereotype threat may not be as robust as many believe and that researchers should continue to test stereotype threat and seek out other explanations for the gender gap in STEM.

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