Getting There

Getting There - Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 61, No. 3,...

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Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 61, No. 3, 2005, pp. 481--506 Getting There is Only Half the Battle: Stigma Consciousness and Maintaining Diversity in Higher Education Elizabeth C. Pinel, Leah R. Warner, and Poh-Pheng Chua The Pennsylvania State University Increases in stigma consciousness since arriving at a primarily White college could predict the college performance and self-esteem of the academically stigmatized. After reviewing relevant research, the authors report on a study in which 44 stigma- tized (African Americans and Latinos/Latinas) and 79 nonstigmatized (Whites and Asian Americans) students completed measures of stigma consciousness, GPA, dis- engagement from academics, and self-esteem. Among stigmatized males, increases in stigma consciousness predicted lower GPAs and greater disengagement. Al- though stigmatized females had low GPAs regardless of their increases in stigma consciousness, with increases in stigma consciousness came less disengagement from school and lower self-esteem. The discussion offers suggestions for how to minimize these negative effects of heightened stigma consciousness levels. More ethnic minorities enroll in college than ever before (American Council on Education, 2000–2001). Despite this increase in enrollment, less than 50% of all African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos/Latinas enrolled in college (hereon “academically stigmatized students”) complete college (American Council on Education, 2000–2001). Moreover, the college completion rate of these groups trails that of Whites and Asian Americans by a significant margin, with the gap be- ing especially large for males (American Council on Education, 2000–2001). What can account for this considerable gap in college completion between academically stigmatized ethnic minorities and their nonstigmatized counterparts? Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Elizabeth C. Pinel, Department of Psychology, 543 Moore Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802 [e-mail: [email protected]]. 481 C ° 2005 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
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482 Pinel, Warner, and Chua We think the belief that members of academically stigmatized ethnic mi- norities suffer intelligence deficits, and thus do not truly earn their admission to college, has something to do with it. Specifically, we believe that academically stigmatized ethnic minority students feel the stigma about their (lack of) intelli- gence most poignantly upon arriving at a predominantly White college. As a result, they become highly attuned to their stereotyped status, and this increase in stigma consciousness (Pinel, 1999) makes them vulnerable to the academic stigma about their group. Stigma Consciousness Stigma consciousness reflects individual differences—either dispositional or situationally induced—in the extent in which targets of widespread stereotypes focus on their stereotyped status and believe it pervades their life experiences (Pinel, 1999). Targets high in stigma consciousness tend to believe that stereo-
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This note was uploaded on 08/07/2011 for the course SOC 164 taught by Professor Aguirre during the Spring '10 term at UC Riverside.

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Getting There - Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 61, No. 3,...

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