Department of Psychology
We examined whether the model of shattered assumptions (Janoff-Bulman, 1992) could be applied to the reactions of victims of discrimination. Consistent with this model, it was hypothesized that those whose positive world assumptions are inconsistent with their negative experiences of discrimination would report more negative responses than those whose world assumptions match their experience. Disadvantaged group (both gender and ethnicity) members’ responses to discrimination (self-esteem, collective action, intergroup anxiety) were predicted from their meritocracy beliefs and personal experiences of discrimination. Regression analyses showed a significant interaction between meritocracy beliefs and personal discrimination such that among those who reported personal discrimination, stronger beliefs that the meritocracy exists predicted decreased self-esteem and collective action as well as increased intergroup anxiety. Among those who reported little personal discrimination, stronger beliefs that the meritocracy exists predicted increased self-esteem. Implications for promoting a critical view of the social system was discussed.
Foster, Mindi D.; Sloto, Lisa; and Ruby, Richard, "Responding to Discrimination as a Function of Meritocracy Beliefs and Personal Experiences: Testing the Model of Shattered Assumptions" (2006). Psychology Faculty Publications. 47.