THE EFFECT OF STEREOTYPE THREAT IN POLICE ENCOUNTERS ON AFFECTIVE AND BEHAVIORAL OUTCOMES
MetadataShow full item record
Black and Hispanic individuals experience disproportionate levels of police contact and it has been hypothesized that stereotype threat—the fear of confirming negative stereotypes about one’s group—negatively influences police-minority interactions. It is well documented that experiencing stereotype threat has negative behavioral, affective, cognitive, and health consequences—possibly accounting for disparities in physical/mental health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities. Thus, the broad aim of this study was to examine the role stereotype threat may play in racial/ethnic minority group interactions with police officers. Using a sample of 142 male college students, the current study examined (a) whether the relation between stereotype threat induction in a legal context and aggressive behavior/negative affective states is mediated by cortisol and testosterone levels, (b) whether previously documented relations between stereotype threat induction and aggressive behavior/negative affective states is mediated by dysfunction in social cognition, and (c) whether race/ethnicity act as a moderator of the stereotype threat effect. Overall, results did not indicate significant relations among the variables of interest. However, a marginally significant moderation effect of race/ethnicity on the relation between stereotype threat and social cognition was found such that, in the stereotype threat induction group, BIPOC status was related to improved social cognition whereas no such relation was found in White participants. The absence of support for hypotheses may be a result of the experimental design, such as small sample and group sizes, a college student sample, measurement issues, or lack of stereotype threat activation. These results may also be due to the possibility that stereotype threat is not as robust in legal encounters as it is in educational settings. Regardless, these results provide important information for future studies.