Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Mixed-Methods Exploration of Stereotype Threat in Middle Childhood

The three studies presented in this dissertation were designed to develop a mixed-methods foundation for the extension of stereotype threat research to a middle childhood (ages 6-11; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012) population. The first paper systematically reviews existing research on stereotype threat among children to evaluate evidence that stereotype threat affects the learning and performance of children in middle childhood and to compare and contrast features of stereotype threat in children with features of the phenomenon identified in research involving older populations. The second paper focuses on two constructs identified in the systematic review as potential buffers of stereotype threat in middle childhood: social support and school belonging. Because the study of stereotype threat inherently involves comparison of students belonging to different social groups, measures of constructs related to stereotype threat must support accurate cross-group comparisons. The purpose of the second paper is to determine whether an existing measurement tool assessing school belonging and social support (the Elementary School Success Profile for Children) performs equally for both Black/African American and White children, and can be used to make valid cross-group comparisons on levels of these constructs. Although Paper 2 contributes to solving some of the measurement issues related to stereotype threat in middle childhood by validating a measure of constructs believed to buffer stereotype threat, no direct measure of stereotype threat currently exists. Development of such a measure would require exploratory qualitative work to learn more about the nature of stereotype threat in middle childhood. The third paper of this dissertation uses vignette methodology to explore how children in the target age group perceive and experience stereotype threat. Children responded to six vignettes modeling Shapiro and Neuberg's Multithreat Framework (2007), discussing their thoughts on the ostensibly stereotype threatening situations as well as their perceptions of conditions contributing to threats and the consequences associated with threat experiences. Paper 3 presents children's perspectives on stereotype threat in their own words, while framing the responses in the contexts of existing stereotype threat research and knowledge of child development.