Dealing with negative stereotypes in sports: the role of cognitive anxiety when multiple identities are activated in sensorimotor tasks

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Martiny, Sarah E. ; Gleibs, Ilka H. ; Parks-Stamm, Elizabeth J. ; Martiny-Huenger, Torsten ; Froehlich, Laura ; Harter, Anna-Lena ; Roth, Jenny (2015)
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1123/jsep.2014-0284
  • Subject: BF Psychology | stereotype threat | sports | gender | VDP::Medisinske Fag: 700::Idrettsmedisinske fag: 850 | cognitive anxiety | sensorimotor tasks | multiple identities
    mesheuropmc: human activities

Accepted manuscript version. Published version at <a href=http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2014-0284>http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2014-0284</a>. Based on research on stereotype threat and multiple identities, this work explores the beneficial effects of activating a positive social identity when a negative identity is salient on women’s performance in sports. Further, in line with research on the effects of anxiety in sports, we investigate whether the activation of a positive social identity buffers performance from cognitive anxiety associated with a negative stereotype. Two experiments tested these predictions in field settings. Experiment 1 (N = 83) shows that the simultaneous activation of a positive (i.e., member of a soccer team) and a negative social identity (i.e., woman) led to better performance than the activation of only a negative social identity for female soccer players. Experiment 2 (N = 46) demonstrates that identity condition moderated the effect of cognitive anxiety on performance for female basketball players. Results are discussed concerning multiple identities’ potential for dealing with stressful situations.
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