When Saying and Doing Diverge: The Effects of Stereotype Threat on Self-reported Versus Nonverbal Anxiety

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Stereotype threat, Non-verbal anxiety, Gay males


Although research has established that stigmatized individuals suffer impaired performance under stereotype threat conditions, the anxiety presumed to mediate this effect has proven difficult to establish. In the current investigation, we explored whether non-verbal measures would fare better than self-reports in capturing stereotype threat anxiety. Gay and heterosexual men interacted with preschool children under stereotype threat or control conditions. As predicted, stereotype-threatened gay men demonstrated more non-verbal anxiety, but not more self-reported anxiety, than non-threatened gays during these interactions. Furthermore, non-verbal anxiety appeared to mediate the effects of stereotype threat on the quality of participants’ childcare skills. We discuss how these findings advance stereotype threat research, and highlight their potential implications for gay childcare workers.

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Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, v. 40, issue 2, p. 247-255