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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Paula Pietromonaco

Second Advisor

Linda M. Isbell

Third Advisor

Maureen Perry-Jenkins

Fourth Advisor

Lynnette L. Sievert

Subject Categories

Social Psychology


Would relatively subtle signals that women are devalued in performance environments have interpersonal consequences for women? My dissertation tests this question across three experiments. In Experiment 1, women (N = 109) completed a mock job interview with a subtly sexist (vs. neutral) interviewer while under stereotype threat or no threat. Women under any form of threat (either stereotype threat or interacting with a subtly sexist interviewer) reported greater feelings of threat and more negative evaluations of the interviewer relative to women under no threat at all (neutral interviewer, no stereotype threat). In Experiment 2, male and female naïve observers (N = 185) viewed videos of interviewees from Experiment 1 without sound. Interviewees under no threats at all were evaluated quite favorably; however, interviewees under either form of threat (stereotype threat or interacting with a subtly sexist interviewer) were evaluated as less competent and hireable than interviewees under neither threat. In Experiment 3 (N = 277), women watched a video of and rehearsed interacting with the subtly sexist or neutral interviewer from Experiment 1 after being subtly excluded (vs. equally included; a manipulation of belonging threat) during an online game with three male players. Exposure to the subtly sexist interviewer led to greater expected threat in the interview, which in turn decreased the perceived identity safety of the work environment, but only for women whose belonging had previously been threatened. Exposure to the subtly sexist interviewer also increased women’s desire to be evaluated as physically attractive but decreased their motivations to approach the interviewer; these effects were not moderated by belonging threat, however. The results of these three experiments suggest that experiences of social identity threat from the environment and from social interactions not only impact women’s self-concepts, motivations, and behavior, but can also lead outside observers to evaluate these women as less capable and less qualified.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.