Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Garriy Shtyenberg

Committee Members

Lowell Gaertner, Michael Olson

Abstract

It is no secret that great disparities in wealth and opportunities pervade our society. Psychological research pertaining to resource inequality attributes these disparities a product of social stigmatization, which is the experience of societal rejection due to the negative stereotypes associated with group membership. Social stigma is correlated with adverse effects; the current research explores the possibility that stigma can alter the extent to which others are included in one’s sense of self, also known as cultural relationality. Study 1 investigated this relationship by measuring both stigma and relationality using self-report measures and found relationality to be negatively correlated with stigmatization. In study 2, stigma salience was manipulated and it was found those primed to think about stigma were less relational than those who were in the control condition. Lastly, in study 3 there was an interaction between stigma type and how severe the specific stigmatizing event was perceived to be, such that those who were asked to write about witnessing discrimination were more relational than those who wrote the control essay or wrote about experiencing discrimination personally, and this was only the case for those who wrote about a highly severe event. Taken together, these studies showed evidence for a systematic relationship between stigmatization and relationality, albeit in a different way than was hypothesized. Implications for these findings are discussed.

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