Stigma consciousness and prejudice ambiguity: Can it be adaptive to perceive the world as biased?

Katie Wang*, Katherine Stroebe, John F. Dovidio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The psychological impact of perceived discrimination varies significantly depending on the extent to which targets expect to be stereotyped (e.g., their level of stigma consciousness). The present research investigated the moderating effect of stigma consciousness on women's cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to gender discrimination that differed in the level of situational ambiguity. Female participants imagined themselves applying for and failing to receive a desired job from a male interviewer, whose description was manipulated to reflect blatant or ambiguous prejudice. Participants higher in stigma consciousness were more likely to attribute their failure to prejudice, especially when the situation was ambiguous. Stigma consciousness predicted both other-directed emotions and active coping in response to ambiguous prejudice. Thus, while stigma consciousness has typically been associated with negative outcomes, the present research reveals that it may also have adaptive effects. The implications of these results for being chronically sensitive to stigmatization are discussed. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-245
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2012

Keywords

  • Stigma consciousness
  • Prejudice
  • Discrimination
  • Situational ambiguity
  • Emotions
  • Collective action
  • COLLECTIVE ACTION
  • SELF-ESTEEM
  • PERVASIVE DISCRIMINATION
  • GROUP IDENTIFICATION
  • ATTRIBUTIONS
  • ACHIEVEMENT
  • PERSONALITY
  • MEDIATION
  • RESPONSES
  • EFFICACY

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