Dealing with negative stereotypes in sports: The role of cognitive anxiety when multiple identities are activated in sensorimotor tasks
AuthorMartiny, Sarah E.; Gleibs, Ilka H.; Parks-Stamm, Elizabeth J.; Martiny-Huenger, Torsten; Froehlich, Laura; Harter, Anna-Lena; Roth, Jenny
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.
Accepted manuscript version. Published version at http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2014-0284.