Stereotype Threat, Perfectionism, and Women's Career Outcomes

Chaihua Lin, Purdue University


The underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) calls for efforts to understand factors that contribute to women’s career development in STEM fields. Using social cognitive career theory (SCCT), this study examines how the interplay of individual and contextual factors (i.e., perfectionism and stereotype threat) contributes to the academic and career outcomes of women STEM students (i.e., self-efficacy, outcome expectation, interest, goals, and procrastination). Hypotheses regarding the relationships among these variables, as well as the moderating role of perfectionism on the mediated effect of stereotype threat on interest through self-efficacy were assessed. Data was collected from 323 undergraduate women students in STEM disciplines through an online survey. Using structural equation modeling, results revealed that: (a) perfectionism was not a significant moderator in the mediated effect of stereotype threat on interest through self-efficacy; (b) stereotype threat was not a significant predictor of self-efficacy and outcome expectations; (e) there was not a mediated effect of stereotype threat on interest through outcome expectations; (d) STEM career goals was not a significant predictor of procrastination; and (e) perfectionism was a significant positive predictor of procrastination. In an alternative model, perfectionism was found to be a significant mediator of the relationship between stereotype threat and self-efficacy. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research and implications for practice are presented.




Deemer, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology

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