The organization of self-knowledge and race: Does self-concept structure impact the responses of Black individuals to stereotype threat?

Aisha Denise Baker

Abstract

Stereotype threat is defined as "the concern or worry that a person can feel when he or she is at risk of confirming or being seen to confirm a negative stereotype about his or her group" (Steele & Davies, 2003, p. 311). Stereotype threat has been examined in a variety of stereotyped groups, but the primary focus of this research has been Black individuals because they often encounter negative stereotypes about their race in the course of their daily lives. Some researchers have suggested that stereotype threat may partially explain the achievement gap between Black and White individuals (Steele & Aronson, 1995). The possible role that self-concept structure may play in the consequences of stereotype threat has yet to be explored. The present study examines evaluative organization and whether it moderates the responses of Black individuals to a stereotype threat manipulation. Research on the role that self-concept structure may play in the consequences of stereotype threat has the potential to shed additional light on the underlying mechanisms of the stereotype threat process and the impact of self-concept structure on the responses of Black individuals to race-related stress.