Jisun KimFollow

Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Self-Affirmations, Psychosocial Interventions, Achievement Gap, Stereotype Threat

Major Advisor

Dr. Thomas Kehle

Associate Advisor

Dr. Melissa Bray

Associate Advisor

Dr. Robert Colbert

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


The disparity that exists between racial minority (i.e., Black, Hispanic, Native American) students and their White student counterparts in their academic achievement scores heavily undermines the considerable consequences – this discrepancy engenders the difference with which students will have opportunities in advanced placement in courses; the difference in the rates of high school graduation, college acceptance, and completion rates; and eventually their salary (Lynch, 2007) and quality of life. The academic disparity between the two groups has been found to have causal roots in stereotype threat, which causes anxiety in an individual who faces the situation where his or her behavior may confirm the negative stereotypes of one’s in-group (Steele, 1995). As such, reducing the stereotype threat has been theorized to allow minority students and those in negatively stereotyped groups to enhance their academic performance by removing levels of anxiety hampering their performance. Following the seminal work of Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, and Master (2006), whereby the academic achievement gap between Black and White middle school students were reduced by 40%, this study examines the effectiveness of such an intervention on 4th grade, elementary students’ reading achievement levels. In addition, its effects on academic emotions were also explored. Results indicate that the intervention as given to older students is not effective in 4th grade students’ reading scores; although not significant, students given the self-affirmation intervention reported higher levels of enjoyment and lower levels of anxiety and boredom as compared to their peers in the control condition.