Shades of threat: Racial identity as a moderator of stereotype threat

Claytie Davis, Joshua Aronson, Moises Salinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated Black racial identity attitudes as a moderator of intellectual performance in potentially stereotype threatening situations. Ninety-eight African American students were randomly assigned to one of three stereotype threatening conditions: low threat, medium threat, or high threat. Analyses confirmed a stereotype threat effect with participants performing significantly better on the task in the low threat condition. Additional analyses of the test takers' racial identity profiles under high and low threat conditions revealed a significant interaction between Internalization status attitudes and the type of threat condition. In the low stereotype threat condition, Internalization status attitudes moderated performance on the intellectual task (i.e., items from the verbal section of the GRE). In this condition, after controlling for SAT verbal score, students who strongly endorsed Internalization racial identity attitudes correctly solved more items than students who did not identify as strongly with Internalization status attitudes. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-417
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Academic achievement
  • Academic performance
  • Racial identity
  • Stereotype threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology


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