Sex Roles

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 193-198

Blatant Stereotype Threat and Women's Math Performance: Self-Handicapping as a Strategic Means to Cope with Obtrusive Negative Performance Expectations

  • Johannes KellerAffiliated withMikrosoziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Universität Mennheim

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Research on the effect of stereotype threat has consistently shown that a reduction of stereotype threat due to decreased salience of negative stereotypic expectations in testing situations results in a performance boost. This article reports on an experiment (n = 75 high school students) designed to test the impact of increased salience of negative stereotypic expectations on math performance. As expected, female participants in the condition of heightened salience of negative stereotypic expectations underperformed in comparison to their control group counterparts. Moreover, it was found that the effect of blatant stereotype threat resulted in increased self-handicapping tendencies in women, which in turn led to significantly impaired math performance.

gender differences math performance self-handicapping stereotype threat