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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2013 Jan;39(1):17-27. doi: 10.1177/0146167212463083. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Succeeding in the face of stereotype threat: the adaptive role of engagement regulation.

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University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


Two experiments examined Engagement Regulation, the systematic increase or decrease of self-esteem engagement in a domain following positive or negative outcomes, respectively. We hypothesized that, under threat, more positive outcomes increase engagement, and greater engagement augments the influence of subsequent outcomes on self-esteem and performance. Female participants completed an initial math test, received bogus feedback, and then completed a second test. Results indicated that more positive feedback evoked greater engagement and that this relationship was strongest under stereotype threat (Study 1). Under stereotype threat, engagement interacted with subsequent feedback, such that greater engagement to positive feedback increased performance, but greater engagement to negative feedback decreased self-esteem and performance (Study 2). Together, these findings suggest that Engagement Regulation facilitates self-esteem maintenance and positive performance under stereotype threat.

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