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Protecting a Positive View of the Self: Female Gamers’ Strategic Self-Attribution of Stereotypes


In two survey studies, one with a college student sample (n = 249) and one with an adult sample (n = 319), we tested self-stereotyping strategies among women video game players to protect their self-image from prevalent negative stereotypes of women gamers. Our results revealed that one strategy is to weaken their commitment to the women gamer identity, and another is to strategically reject some aspects of the identity while continuing to endorse others. Specifically, we found that strongly committed women gamers believed that the stereotypes are as descriptive of the typical women players as of themselves, while weakly committed women gamers reported beliefs that the stereotypes are more descriptive of the typical women players than of themselves. We also found that, for stereotypes that directly target gaming competence, strongly committed women gamers chose to reject these stereotypes for both themselves and the group, but weakly committed women gamers only reject them for themselves. For stereotypes that do not directly target gaming competence, though, both strongly and weakly committed women gamers endorsed them similarly as these stereotypes do not harm their perception of their potential success in video gaming. Overall, our results indicated that women gamers have adopted creative strategies in the face of negative stereotypes of women gamers to protect their self-image as a woman who plays video games.

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Both authors of the present manuscript have contributed significantly to the project. The order of the authorship was determined by following APA 7.

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Correspondence to Shay Xuejing Yao.

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Both studies associated with the present manuscript were approved by the university IRB as exempt.

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Yao, S.X., Rhodes, N. Protecting a Positive View of the Self: Female Gamers’ Strategic Self-Attribution of Stereotypes. Sex Roles 88, 155–168 (2023).

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  • Gender
  • Gaming
  • Self-stereotyping
  • Ingroup-stereotyping
  • Ingroup commitment
  • Stereotype relevance