Date of Award

8-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Advisor

Taylor, Mary Anne

Committee Member

Brooks , Johnell

Committee Member

Kowalski , Robin

Abstract

The following research examined the effects of stereotype threat on women's leadership self-efficacy. Previous research has demonstrated that women's leadership aspirations are negatively affected by the presence of stereotype threat, and the current research served to expand on this literature by examining possible factors that could moderate women's vulnerability to this threat. It was proposed that women with a weaker adherence to sexist beliefs, less investment in gender ideals, and higher self-esteem would be less susceptible to stereotype threat and would perceive themselves as more capable leaders. Participants completed a survey that primed their gender identity in order to invoke stereotype threat or completed a gender-neutral survey in order to maintain an environment free of stereotype threat. Measures of adherence to sexist beliefs, investment in gender ideals, self-esteem, and leadership self-efficacy were administered and regression was used to test the proposed interactions between stereotype threat and each of these three possible moderating variables as predictors of leadership self-efficacy. Results did not support the proposed interactions, indicating that adherence to sexist beliefs, investment in gender ideals, and self-esteem were not moderators of the stereotype threat and women's perceptions of leadership self-efficacy relationship. However, a main effect for investment in gender ideals emerged, although the effect was not in the predicted direction. Possible explanations as to why the findings concerning the predicted interactions were not significant are suggested as well as directions for future research.

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