Sex Roles

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 113-125

First online:

Discounting the Difficult: How High Math-Identified Women Respond to Stereotype Threat

  • Alexandra C. LeskoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Reed College
  • , Jennifer Henderlong CorpusAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Reed CollegeDepartment of Psychology, Reed College Email author 

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In this study, we examined how math identity moderates women's response to gender-related stereotypes in the domain of mathematics. Male and female college students with varying degrees of math identification took a challenging math test with a gender-related stereotype either activated (i.e., stereotype threat) or nullified. Consistent with previous research, women performed worse than men in the stereotype threat condition, but equal to men in the stereotype nullification condition when performance was adjusted for math SAT scores. Moreover, when faced with stereotype threat, high math-identified women discounted the validity of the test more than did less math-identified women or men in general. We discuss potential benefits and drawbacks of a discounting strategy for women who are highly identified with math.

Key Words

stereotype threat gender identity mathematics