Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

James B. Epps, Ph.D

Committee Member

Sandra Schneider-Wright, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carnot Nelson, Ph. D


self-esteem, race, attributional ambiguity, prejudice, stigmatized


When stigmatized or oppressed groups are able to protect their self-esteem by attributing a negative outcome to prejudice and/or discrimination, this has been titled "attributional ambiguity". Whereas it has been proven in many studies that attributional ambiguity does exist among the stigmatized and oppressed groups the methodological approach of these studies were bias. In these studies the evaluator(s) has always been white and/or physically able. The goal of this study was to investigate whether attributional ambiguity is utilized by any individual (stigmatized/oppressed or non-stigmatized/non-oppressed) who feels that their outcome is the result of prejudice and/or discrimination. Our methodological approach allowed participants to be evaluated by same-race, or cross-race evaluators of the same sex. It is believed that this did address the issue of stigmatized/oppressed being evaluators themselves. However, the lack of reported prejudice made it difficult to test the construct validity of attributional ambiguity. In addition this study yielded results that revealed that subtle differences such as skin color is not enough to imply prejudice even when paired with negative feedback.