Modern Psychological Studies
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Research has shown that stigmatized subjects, defined as members of groups about which others hold negative attitudes, receiving negative feedback from a prejudiced evaluator attribute the nature of the feedback to the source rather than to their own performance. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether this self-protective mechanism also occurs in nonstigmatized individuals. Sixty-seven subjects, male and female undergraduate students enrolled at a small midwestern liberal arts college, participated in a 2 x 2 between-subjects factorial design in which the independent variable of evaluator prejudice or nonprejudice was crossed with stigmatized or nonstigmatized subject status. Results of an ANOVA measuring the difference between subjects' pre- and postmanipulation esteem scores showed a significant interaction between evaluator prejudice and subject status (p = .009). Nonstigmatized subjects' self-esteem was elevated by receiving feedback from a prejudiced evaluator and decreased by receiving feedback from a nonprejudiced evaluator. No esteem effects were found in the stigmatized subjects. The results showed that stigmatized subjects did not feel the need to protect their self-esteem by elevating their esteem score in the prejudiced evaluator condition because they were able to attribute the feedback to evaluator prejudice.
BF1 .M63 v. 3 no. 2 1995
Harding, Theodore and Dietrich, Dorothee
"Self-protective attributions in stigmatized individuals,"
Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 3
, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol3/iss2/6