Title

Are You Threatening Me? Responses to Age-Based Stereotype Threat

Poster Number

16A

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Lead Author Status

Senior

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Carla Strickland-Hughes

Faculty Mentor Email

cstricklandhughes@pacific.edu,

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Negative age stereotypes are detrimental (Hummert, 2011). Age-based stereotype threat (ABST) effects arise when older adults underperform on a stereotype-relevant task because they fear confirming the stereotype (Lamont et al., 2015). ABST might be worse for individuals with higher task-related anxiety (Abrams et al. 2008), lower confidence (Desrichard and Köpetz, 2005), or more negative aging attitudes (Hummert, 2011). This research aimed to replicate an ABST manipulation that disrupted performance on a dementia screening (Mazerolle et al., 2017) and to test mechanisms of ABST. We expected high ABST instructions to result in poorer memory, higher anxiety, lower confidence, and more negative aging beliefs. Participants (56-86 years old, M=74.69, SD=7.55, 90% female, 86% white, 49% completed Bachelor’s degree) were randomly assigned to high (n=14) or null (n=15) ABST and completed a memory task and surveys. Memory was worse for high (M=19%, SD=18%) compared to null (M=32%, SD=22%) threat, t(27)=1.81, p=0.041. The groups did not differ in anxiety, confidence, nor perception of stereotype threat. Interestingly, higher perceived threat was related to greater anxiety, r=-.370, p=.048, and to feeling older, r=-.328, p=.042. Confidence was higher for lower perceived threat (M=3.75, SD=0.74), than high perceived threat (M=3.19, SD=.62), t(27)=2.21, p=.018. While our data replicated the ABST manipulation, participants exposed to high threat did not report greater perception of threat: Characteristics of the testing environment (e.g., being tested alone or in groups; experimenter age) or participant characteristics (e.g., prone to anxiety, more negative age attitudes) may cumulatively contribute to the perception of threat. The long-term goal of this research program is to design and test interventions to promote ABST resilience.

Location

DeRosa University Center Ballroom

Start Date

27-4-2018 12:30 PM

End Date

27-4-2018 2:30 PM

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Apr 27th, 12:30 PM Apr 27th, 2:30 PM

Are You Threatening Me? Responses to Age-Based Stereotype Threat

DeRosa University Center Ballroom

Negative age stereotypes are detrimental (Hummert, 2011). Age-based stereotype threat (ABST) effects arise when older adults underperform on a stereotype-relevant task because they fear confirming the stereotype (Lamont et al., 2015). ABST might be worse for individuals with higher task-related anxiety (Abrams et al. 2008), lower confidence (Desrichard and Köpetz, 2005), or more negative aging attitudes (Hummert, 2011). This research aimed to replicate an ABST manipulation that disrupted performance on a dementia screening (Mazerolle et al., 2017) and to test mechanisms of ABST. We expected high ABST instructions to result in poorer memory, higher anxiety, lower confidence, and more negative aging beliefs. Participants (56-86 years old, M=74.69, SD=7.55, 90% female, 86% white, 49% completed Bachelor’s degree) were randomly assigned to high (n=14) or null (n=15) ABST and completed a memory task and surveys. Memory was worse for high (M=19%, SD=18%) compared to null (M=32%, SD=22%) threat, t(27)=1.81, p=0.041. The groups did not differ in anxiety, confidence, nor perception of stereotype threat. Interestingly, higher perceived threat was related to greater anxiety, r=-.370, p=.048, and to feeling older, r=-.328, p=.042. Confidence was higher for lower perceived threat (M=3.75, SD=0.74), than high perceived threat (M=3.19, SD=.62), t(27)=2.21, p=.018. While our data replicated the ABST manipulation, participants exposed to high threat did not report greater perception of threat: Characteristics of the testing environment (e.g., being tested alone or in groups; experimenter age) or participant characteristics (e.g., prone to anxiety, more negative age attitudes) may cumulatively contribute to the perception of threat. The long-term goal of this research program is to design and test interventions to promote ABST resilience.