Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 143–158 | Cite as

The protective role of self-determined prejudice regulation in the relationship between intergroup threat and prejudice

  • Lisa LegaultEmail author
  • Isabelle Green-Demers
Original Paper


Although plenty of evidence supports the link between intergroup threat and prejudice, few intrapersonal moderators of this association have been investigated. One potentially important moderator is the source of motivation underlying prejudice regulation. In Study 1, we examined whether self-determined prejudice regulation reduces the impact of intergroup threat on various outgroup attitude variables (e.g., modern racism, outgroup affect, etc.). Results suggest that being self-determined in one’s motivation to regulate prejudice buffers the impact of intergroup threat on prejudice, whereas regulating prejudice primarily for non-self-determined reasons serves to exacerbate the threat-prejudice effect. In Study 2, a cross-sectional corroboration of this interaction was obtained using structural equation modeling, revealing that the threat-prejudice link differed significantly across groups of prejudice regulators. The role of self-determination in reducing the harmful effects of intergroup threat is discussed, and implications for prejudice reduction and diversity education are identified.


Intergroup threat Prejudice Motivation Self-determination Self-regulation Motivation to control prejudice 



This research was supported by a fellowship awarded to the first author from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto ScarboroughTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Université du Québec en OutaouaisGatineauCanada

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