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Plugging Up the Leaky STEM Pipeline with a Stereotype Threat Mentoring Intervention

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Date Issued:
2014
Abstract/Description:
The present study compared the effectiveness of different mentoring programs at reducing feelings of stereotype threat experienced by women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Stereotype threat refers to the extra pressure a person feels to disprove a negative stereotype that applies to him or her. Because stereotype threat has been found to undermine performance and interest in stereotyped domains, it may be a key factor contributing to female underrepresentation in STEM fields. Mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were placed in either a stereotype threat reduction condition in which mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were encouraged to participate in discussions designed to reduce stereotype threat, an academic condition in which mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were encouraged to discuss academic goals and challenges, or a non-academic condition in which mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were encouraged to discuss the challenges of balancing non-school commitments. It was hypothesized that mentoring that focused specifically on stereotype threat reduction would be the most effective in reducing stereotype threat and increasing intentions to remain in STEM fields. In addition, it was hypothesized that stereotype threat reduction mentoring would be the most effective at increasing beliefs in an incremental theory of intelligence (i.e., the belief that intelligence can be developed through hard work) and decreasing beliefs in an entity theory of intelligence (i.e., the belief that intelligence is innate and is unalterable). Mentors were 36 male and 74 female upper-level STEM college students and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were 137 female lower-level STEM college students. Participants met online for 30 minutes, once per week, for 3 weeks. Results indicated that both mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the stereotype threat reduction mentoring condition reported feeling less stereotype threat in their STEM classes than mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the other mentoring conditions. Additionally, the frequency in which self-theories were discussed in the mentoring sessions partially mediated the effects of the stereotype threat reduction condition on prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s' feelings of stereotype threat in their STEM classes. Mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the stereotype threat reduction mentoring condition also reported endorsing incremental theories of intelligence more and endorsing entity theories of intelligence less than mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the other conditions. In summary, the present study's findings suggest that in order maximum stereotype threat reduction to occur in a mentoring relationship, mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s engage in activities and discussions designed to reduce stereotype threat. Given that prior research has found that decreased stereotype threat, decreased entity theories of intelligence, and increased incremental theories of intelligence are associated with greater interest and performance in STEM domains, the utilization of a stereotype threat reduction mentoring program can help address the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math related fields.
Title: Plugging Up the Leaky STEM Pipeline with a Stereotype Threat Mentoring Intervention.
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Name(s): Xavier, Luiz, Author
Fritzsche, Barbara, Committee Chair
Szalma, James, Committee Member
Jentsch, Kimberly, Committee Member
Ben-Zeev, Avi, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The present study compared the effectiveness of different mentoring programs at reducing feelings of stereotype threat experienced by women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Stereotype threat refers to the extra pressure a person feels to disprove a negative stereotype that applies to him or her. Because stereotype threat has been found to undermine performance and interest in stereotyped domains, it may be a key factor contributing to female underrepresentation in STEM fields. Mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were placed in either a stereotype threat reduction condition in which mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were encouraged to participate in discussions designed to reduce stereotype threat, an academic condition in which mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were encouraged to discuss academic goals and challenges, or a non-academic condition in which mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were encouraged to discuss the challenges of balancing non-school commitments. It was hypothesized that mentoring that focused specifically on stereotype threat reduction would be the most effective in reducing stereotype threat and increasing intentions to remain in STEM fields. In addition, it was hypothesized that stereotype threat reduction mentoring would be the most effective at increasing beliefs in an incremental theory of intelligence (i.e., the belief that intelligence can be developed through hard work) and decreasing beliefs in an entity theory of intelligence (i.e., the belief that intelligence is innate and is unalterable). Mentors were 36 male and 74 female upper-level STEM college students and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s were 137 female lower-level STEM college students. Participants met online for 30 minutes, once per week, for 3 weeks. Results indicated that both mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the stereotype threat reduction mentoring condition reported feeling less stereotype threat in their STEM classes than mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the other mentoring conditions. Additionally, the frequency in which self-theories were discussed in the mentoring sessions partially mediated the effects of the stereotype threat reduction condition on prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s' feelings of stereotype threat in their STEM classes. Mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the stereotype threat reduction mentoring condition also reported endorsing incremental theories of intelligence more and endorsing entity theories of intelligence less than mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s in the other conditions. In summary, the present study's findings suggest that in order maximum stereotype threat reduction to occur in a mentoring relationship, mentors and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s engage in activities and discussions designed to reduce stereotype threat. Given that prior research has found that decreased stereotype threat, decreased entity theories of intelligence, and increased incremental theories of intelligence are associated with greater interest and performance in STEM domains, the utilization of a stereotype threat reduction mentoring program can help address the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math related fields.
Identifier: CFE0005445 (IID), ucf:50372 (fedora)
Note(s): 2014-08-01
Ph.D.
Sciences, Psychology
Doctoral
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): stereotype threat
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0005445
Restrictions on Access: campus 2019-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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