25 terms

Social Stigma and Self-Esteem

Although several theories predict that members of stigmatized groups should have low global self-esteem, research typically does not support this prediction.
Global Self-esteem
Overall perceptions of one's self-worth that can be distinguished from other realms of self-evaluation.
Ex: It's possible to have low self-confidence but have high global self-esteem.
Stigmatized Group
An outgroup relative to the dominant group in a culture or society.
Defined by reference to any particular ingroup, regardless of which group holds the dominant position in the social hierarchy.
Argued that the self-concept consists of the looking-glass self. The self-concept is a product of both one's awareness of how others evaluate the self and the adoption of those others' views.
Proposed that self-fulfilling prophecies occur when a perceiver acts on his or her false beliefs about a target in such a way that those beliefs come to be confirmed by the behavior of the target.
Three Theories Low-Self Esteem among Stigmatized Groups
Looking-glass self, self-fulfilling prophecies, and efficacy-based self-esteem.
Efficacy-Based Self-Esteem
Learning that one can control and manipulate one's environment promotes higher self-esteem while conditions that prevent control of the environment may lower self-esteem.
Morse and Gergen
Found that the self-esteem of people who were applying for a job depended on whether another applicant for the job, waiting in the same room, appeared competent and poised or unprepared for the interview. Self-esteem is vulnerable to situational forces.
Why members of stigmatized groups are not lower in self-esteem
Self-esteem depends on situational forces
Appraisals of significant others are more important
Discrimination isn't always consistent`
Three Protective Measures
Attributing negative feedback to prejudice
Selectively comparing their outcomes to members within their group
Devaluing attributes in which the group fairs poorly and valuing attributes in which they excel.
Found that students who had been insulted because of their race were equivalent in self-esteem to students who had not been insulted.
Insults on personal characteristics such as appearance, speech, or mental ability were related to lower self-esteem.
Crocker, Voelkl, Cornwell, and Major
Found that black children receiving feedback from a white evaluator were less upset with thier evaluations when they knew that the evaluator could see them, attributing poor evaluation to race.
Similarity Principle
Stigmatized individuals are apt to seek out others who are similarly stigmatized because they are assumed to be more similar to the self on relevant attributes, and thus more appropriate for comparison.
Frog Pond Effect
Rosenberg and Simmons
Found that black school children in segregated settings had higher self-esteem than those in integrated settings.
Gerard and Miller
Found that black people from segregated backgrounds experienced an initial drop in self-esteem following desegregation, but their self-esteem quickly rebounded.
Argued that it is necessary to know whether an individual values a quality to know whether the individual's self-esteem will suffer as a consequence of being deprived in that quality.
Showed that individuals will devalue or regard as less personally relevant attributes on which they compare poorly.
Five possible reasons for variability among stigmatized groups
Time since stigma (it takes time for people to learn self-protective measures)
Concealability of stigma (people who can hide their stigmas face less prejudice. However, since their stigmas are hidden, these individuals never learn coping strategies)
Internalization of negative attitudes
Responsibility for the stigma (individuals who are viewed as less responsible for their stigmatized condition are treated better)
Centrality of the stigma (to self-esteem)
Chassin and Stager
Found that delinquents whose label was personally relevant had lower self-esteem than did those for whom the label was not relevant.
Token or Solo Status
Stigmatized members are the only one or one of the very few members of their group.
Two Dynamics that Emerge from Token or Solo Status
1) The only standard for evaluating one's out-comes is to out-group--> No viability of in-group comparisons.
2) However, individuals with token or solo status may find their group membership more salient and rewarding.
Moderators of Self-Protective Attributes
1) People who perceive discrimination more are likely to have higher self-esteem since they attribute any criticisms to discrimination.
2) Overt racism is less damaging than racism that is disguised.
Negative Consequences of Self-Protective Measures
1) Undermines motivation
2) Miss opportunities to learn or improve (by attributing all criticisms to racism).
Argued that the gender differences in math achievement are largely due to differences in value that boys and girls place on math.