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Abstract

Evaluative domains such as work and school present daily threats to self-integrity that can undermine performance. Self-affirmation theory asserts that, when threatened, people can perform small but meaningful acts to reaffirm their sense of competency. For instance, brief self-affirmation writing interventions have been shown in numerous studies to boost the academic achievement of those contending with negative stereotypes in school because of their race, gender, or generational status. The current paper tested the protective effects of self-affirmation for students who have the subjective sense that they do not belong in college. Such a feeling is not as visible as race or gender but, as a pervasive part of the students' inner world, might still be as debilitating to the students' academic performance. Among a predominantly White sample of college undergraduates, students who felt a low sense of belonging declined in grade point average (GPA) over three semesters. In contrast, students who reported low belonging, but affirmed their core values in a lab-administered self-affirmation writing activity, gained in GPA over time, with the effect of affirmation sufficiently strong to yield a main effect among the sample as a whole. The affirmation intervention mitigated—and even reversed—the decline in GPA among students with a low sense of belonging in college, providing support for self-affirmation theory's contention that affirmations of personal integrity can lessen psychological threat regardless of its source.

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... Furthermore, it is not only students' grades that can be improved by self-affirmation interventions in educational settings, but other important outcomes, also. Affirmations have also been found to reduce academic stress (Hadden et al., 2020), increase trust (Sherman & Cohen, 2006), reduce defensiveness (Sherman & Cohen, 2006), and to benefit those who feel like they do not belong to college (Layous et al., 2017). Binning and colleagues (2019) also found that self-affirmation interventions promoted better behavior among US middle-school students, decreasing disciplinary infractions over students' three years of middle school. ...
... Indeed, some moderators have already been identified at different levels of analysis. Individual-level moderators have been identified, including proxies for social identity threat-such as group membership, prior performance , and sense of belonging (Layous et al., 2017)-and those based on coding of the written exercises, such as level of student engagement (Borman et al., 2018) and whether the students reflected on feelings of belonging (Shnabel et al., 2013). ...
... These moderators demonstrate the importance of understanding the wider context in which self-affirmations are implemented and, in particular, recognizing how the context can determine which groups are likely to be experiencing threat and are thus likely to benefit from selfaffirmation interventions (Binning & Browman, 2020;Easterbrook & Hadden, 2021;Manstead et al., 2020). Critically, however, there has yet to be an empirical demonstration that threat moderates (or mediates) the effectiveness of self-affirmation interventions in education, as proxies for social identity threat are often operationalized as objective indicators of group membership (e.g., ethnicity or eligibility for free school meals, but see Celeste et al., 2021;Layous et al., 2017). This is, in part, because there are not yet valid, reliable, and established measures of threat. ...
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Self‐affirmation, operationalized as value‐affirmation interventions, can have long‐term beneficial effects on the academic performance and trajectories of members of negatively stereotyped groups, thus reducing achievement gaps. Yet, there is significant heterogeneity in the effectiveness of value affirmations, and we do not yet have a clear understanding of why. In this introduction to the special issue, we review the literature on self‐affirmation theory in educational contexts, providing overviews of the heterogeneity in the effectiveness of affirmation interventions, the methods of implementation, potential moderators, and underling processes. We identify several questions that are important for researchers to address, the answers to which would progress the field towards being able to more confidently implement value‐affirmations in contexts in which, and/or for groups for whom, they are most likely to produce benefits. We then introduce the articles included in this special issue, which showcase several of the latest theoretical and empirical advances to self‐affirmation theory in educational contexts.
... Like the framing intervention studies, the values affirmation intervention studies reviewed above targeted an impressive number of educational problems, from gender gaps in a physics course (Miyake et al. 2010) and the social class achievement gap in a biology course (Harackiewicz et al. 2014a) to performance among students with low belonging (Layous et al. 2017). However, the number of tests of values affirmation in college contexts is small, and the results have not been consistent (e.g., Harackiewicz et al. 2016a). ...
... This inconsistency highlights the urgency for researchers to demonstrate how this intervention works in college contexts and for whom. Recent studies have provided insights into the psychological moderators of values affirmation interventions (Layous et al. 2017), as well as the proximal and distal mediators of intervention effects. Work by Tibbetts and colleagues (2016a) can provide important clues about their proximal mechanisms, revealing that, for FG students experiencing identity threat due to a cultural mismatch, the benefits of the intervention were mediated by themes of independence. ...
... However, it is not clear that the implementation of the intervention needs to be the same across contexts. Indeed, some of the work at the college level has been implemented in laboratory settings, rather than classrooms, with positive results , Layous et al. 2017. Given the recent work showing that the content of values affirmation essays works differently for middle school minority students and FG college students (Shnabel et al. 2013, it is clear that more work is needed to understand how values affirmation works in different contexts and for different groups. ...
Article
Many theoretically based interventions have been developed over the past two decades to improve educational outcomes in higher education. Based in social-psychological and motivation theories, well-crafted interventions have proven remarkably effective because they target specific educational problems and the processes that underlie them. In this review, we evaluate the current state of the literature on targeted interventions in higher education with an eye to emerging theoretical and conceptual questions about intervention science. We review three types of interventions, which focus on the value students perceive in academic tasks, their framing of academic challenges, and their personal values, respectively. We consider interventions that (a) target academic outcomes (e.g., grades, major or career plans, course taking, retention) in higher education, as well as the pipeline to college, and (b) have been evaluated in at least two studies. Finally, we discuss implications for intervention science moving forward. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 69 is January 4, 2018. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... The reason may be that this theory explains how individuals cope with threats to their self-image. Specifically, such threats motivate individuals to take action to self-affirm their self-worth (Layous et al., 2017). SAT has widely been used to explain individuals' tendency to perceive themselves as good, virtuous, successful and capable of controlling important outcomes (Steele, 1988). ...
... SAT has been applied to explain how self-affirmation motivates individuals to reduce the impact of a lack of belongingness in college on grade point average performance (Layous et al., 2017), negate the impact of job insecurity on employees' creativity ( Jiang, 2018), and engage in upward social comparisons (Spencer et al., 2001), which likely causes envy and depression (Li, 2019). SAT has also widely been applied in online contexts. ...
Article
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Purpose Online games are popular electronic commerce platforms in which gamers use avatars to interact with others. Avatar identification (the extent to which gamers regard avatars as an extension of themselves) is known to be related to online gamer loyalty. However, few studies have examined how avatars could be designed to enhance avatar identification and online gamer loyalty, indicating a gap. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to contextualize self-affirmation theory into online gaming contexts, identified key theoretical elements and examined how they are related to avatar identification and online gamer loyalty. Design/methodology/approach This study surveyed 1,348 massively multi-player online role-playing game players, and their responses were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Findings The analytical results indicate that irreplaceability within a team and avatar customization are positively related to unique avatar image, while avatar customization is positively related to positive avatar image. Moreover, avatar physical attractiveness and avatar ability to achieve are positively related to positive avatar image. Both unique and positive images of an avatar (as perceived by the user) are positively related to avatar identification, and further to online gamer loyalty. Originality/value This study proposes new constructs: irreplaceability within a team, avatar ability to achieve, unique avatar image and positive avatar image. Such new constructs provide insights to aid electronic commerce managers in avatar design, thus instilling gamer identification with avatars, and thus loyalty.
... When asked to describe their most important values, research participants nearly always focus on self-transcendent ones that involve helping or connecting with others (Crocker, Niiya, & Mischkowski, 2008;Sagiv et al., 2017). Further, in some past research high-value-focus manipulations made people more magnanimous only if the value-focus manipulation induced selftranscendent focus (Burson, Crocker, & Mischkowski, 2012;Cook, Purdie-Vaughns, Garcia, & Cohen, 2012;Crocker et al., 2008;Layous et al., 2017;Schimel, Arndt, Banko, & Cook, 2004;Shnabel, Purdie-Vaughns, Cook, Garcia, & Cohen, 2013;Yeager et al., 2014;see Crocker & Canevello, 2012, for similar effects for self-transcendent but not for self-enhancement goals on well-being and effectiveness). For example, value-focus effects on smokers' reduced defensiveness about their habit were completely mediated by the extent to which value-focus revolved around themes of love and connection (Crocker et al., 2008). ...
Article
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Fidelity with self-transcendent values is hailed as a hallmark of mature and magnanimous character by classic psychological and philosophical theories. Dozens of contemporary experiments inspired by self-affirmation theory have also found that when people are under threat, focus on self-transcendent values can confer magnanimity by improving psychological buoyancy (less anxious and more courageous, determined, and effective) and decreasing belligerence (less defensive, extreme, and hostile). The present research was guided by the postulate that both aspects of magnanimity—its buoyancy and its freedom from belligerence—arise from the approach motivated states that self-transcendent foci can inspire. Experimental manipulations of self-transcendent foci (values, spirituality, compassion) heightened state approach motivation as assessed by electroencephalography (Study 1, n = 187) and self-report (Study 2, n = 490). Further, even though the heightened approach motivation was transient, it mediated a longer-lasting freedom from moral (Study 1) and religious (Study 2) belligerence. Importantly, self-transcendent-focus effects on approach motivation and belligerence occurred only among participants with high trait meaning search scores. Results support an interpretation of meaningful values and spiritual ideals as self-transcendent priorities that operate according to basic motivational mechanics of abstract-goal pursuit. The transient, approach-motivated state aroused by transcendence-focus causes longer lasting relief from preoccupation with threat, leaving people feeling buoyant and generous. Relevance of results for self-affirmation theory and the psychology of spirituality are discussed.
... Many of the studies in our final sample included more than one outcome estimate; we therefore have multiple effect sizes (with 190 Brady et al. (2016) Values-affirmation 2 0.017 0.157 Gripshover et al. Study 4 (2017) Values-affirmation 2 − 0.130 0.077 Values-affirmation 4 0.017 0.100 Layous et al., (2017) Values-affirmation 2 0.407 0.207 Miyake et al. (2010) Values-affirmation 6 − 0.067 0.146 Tibbetts et al. (2016) Values-affirmation 2 0.008 0.101 Walton et al. Study 1 (2015) Values-affirmation 2 0.020 0.150 Woolf, McManus, Gill, and Dacre (2009) Values-affirmation 4 0.115 0.155 ...
... For students facing belonging concerns and potential identity threats (e.g., FG students), affirming personal values may be a way of reestablishing a feeling of self-integrity and self-worth thereby bolstering them from the negative effects of feeling like they do not belong. VA interventions have proven effective at improving the academic performance of students who feel like they don't belong (Layous et al., 2017) including FG students and other traditionally underrepresented students Sherman et al., 2013;Hanselman et al., 2014;Harackiewicz et al., 2014;Tibbetts et al., 2016a). ...
Article
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First-generation (FG) college students (students for whom neither parent has a 4-year degree) face a number of challenges as they attempt to obtain a post-secondary degree. They are more likely to come from working-class backgrounds or poverty (Reardon, 2011) and attend lower quality high schools (Warburton et al., 2001) while not benefiting from the guidance of a parent who successfully navigated the path to higher education. FG college students also contend with belonging or “fitting in” concerns due a perceived mismatch between their own values and the values implicit in institutions of higher education (Stephens et al., 2012a). Specifically, prior research has demonstrated that FG college students face an unseen disadvantage that can be attributed to the fact that middle-class norms of independence reflected in American institutions of higher education can be experienced as threatening by many FG students who have been socialized with more interdependent values commonly espoused in working-class populations. The present research examines this theory (cultural mismatch theory) in the understudied context of 2-year colleges and tests if a values-affirmation intervention (i.e., an intervention that has shown promise in addressing identity threats and belonging concerns) can be effective for FG college students at these 2-year campuses. By considering the tenets of cultural mismatch theory in the creation of the values-affirmation interventions we were able to vary different aspects of the intervention in order to examine how its effectiveness may depend on the nature and magnitude of a perceived cultural mismatch. Results from surveying faculty and students at 2-year colleges indicated that compared to traditional 4-year institutions, the norms of 2-year colleges and the motivations of FG students may be different. That is, FG student motives may be more consistent (and thus less mismatched) with the cultural context of 2-year colleges which could result in fewer belonging concerns when compared to FG students at 4-year institutions. This may carry implications for the efficacy of values-affirmation interventions and could help explicate why FG students in the current sample perceived a greater match with their college when they reflected on their interdependent values.
... There are studies dealing with belonging in the context of school [19][20][21][22]. Belonging to school, defined as students' feeling acceptance, respect, support and inclusion in the social environment of school, has a significant effect on academic motivation, bonding and engagement. ...
Article
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Belonging is one of the basic psychological needs dealt with by many conceptualists. In different contexts the need to belong may be met at different levels. In this study the affiliation of 276 university students (178 females 64.5%, 98 males 35.5%) to their university was dealt with. The aim of this study is to investigate the correlation between the students’ belonging to the university and well-being levels. Students in the research group were aged from 18 to 26 years, with mean age of 20.7 and standard deviation of 1.53. The group included 111 (40.2%) first year students, 95 (34.4%) second year students, 46 (16.7%) third year students and 24 (8.7%) fourth year students. Of students, 16 (5.8%) had poor economic status, 157 (56.9%) had moderate, 94 (34.1%) had good and 9 (3.3%) had very good economic status. The data collection tools of the Belonging to the University Scale and PERMA Profiler were used along with a personal information form. Analysis in the research used the multiple regression analysis and correlation techniques. According to the analysis results, the belonging to the university subdimensions of identification, expectation and motivation had a low level and significant correlation with well-being and these three subdimensions explained 15% of well-being. Additionally, there were significant correlations determined between belonging to the university, well-being, identification, meaning and health variables. In conclusion, as the belonging to the university level increases, it is considered university students’ well-being levels will increase.
... depression and anxiety; Blume, Lovato, Thyken, & Denny, 2012;Graham, West, & Roemer, 2015;Hwang & Goto, 2008;Lambert, Herman, Bynum, & Ialongo, 2009;Smith, Allen, & Danley, 2007;Williams, Neighbors, & Jackson, 2003). A low sense of belongingness is also related to poorer psychosocial functioning, including a lower sense of self-adequacy and self-integrity (e.g., Layous et al., 2017), greater perceived stress, and more symptoms of depression (Torres, Driscoll, & Burrow, 2010). Thus, it is not surprising that 65% of URM doctoral students in a large-scale national study reported occasionally or frequently worrying about their physical or mental health (Sowell et al., 2015). ...
Article
Background Although the enrollment rate of students who come from racial and ethnic backgrounds traditionally underrepresented (URM) in higher education settings is steadily increasing in United States graduate programs, URM students are still considerably underrepresented. Systemic racial and ethnic discrimination, microaggressions, and low belongingness may negatively impact psychological functioning and interfere with academic success. Objective: This study explored the relationship between racial and ethnic stressors, belongingness, acceptance, and valued living on the psychological functioning of URM graduate students. Method: Participants (N = 436) were URM students pursuing their doctoral degree in the United States who completed the Schedule of Racist Events, Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale, Campus Connectedness Scale, Valued Living Questionnaire, Philadelphia Mindfulness Scale, and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales. Results: Racial and ethnic microaggressions and stressors were positively associated with psychological distress and belongingness was negatively associated with psychological distress (r's = .21-0.33). However, three hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that both acceptance of internal experiences and values-based living predicted psychological functioning (depression, anxiety, and stress) over and above the negative effects of racial and ethnic stressors and low perceived belongingness. Conclusions: Although systemic changes are needed to address the inequities that URM graduate students face, helping students to cultivate an accepting stance and live consistently with personal values could buffer against the effects of these stressors on psychological functioning.
... Moreover, it is not just negatively stereotyped students who benefit. Another study demonstrated the educational benefits of an intervention among undergraduate students who were predominantly white, but who were experiencing low belonging (Layous et al., 2017). In this study, among students low in belonging, those in the affirmation intervention had significantly higher GPAs over two years than those in the control condition. ...
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Why are men more confident than women in science, technology, engineering, and math (i.e., STEM)? Prior research implies that the gap can be explained by women’s under-confidence. However, I examine whether, in addition, men are over-confident. This study used a longitudinal field experiment to collect confidence surveys from students enrolled in a challenging gateway STEM course for three weeks. The student participants were randomly assigned to receive either a control or self-affirmation intervention, which was expected to mitigate students’ under- or over-confidence. Under- and over-confidence was estimated by determining the discrepancies between students’ reported confidence and level of confidence expected based on their prior performance in relevant courses. Prior performance was obtained from students’ official transcripts. First, I examined average (across all study days) confidence discrepancy scores by gender and condition. Consistent with predictions, in the control condition, women had negative average confidence discrepancies while men had positive average confidence discrepancies. However, contrary to predictions, there were no intervention effects for women’s average discrepancies, and for men, there was one intervention effect such that men in the affirmation condition had larger positive discrepancies than those in the control. Second, I examined confidence discrepancy scores longitudinally by gender and condition. In the control condition, women’s negative discrepancies did not change whereas men’s positive discrepancies increased (became more discrepant) over time. Among women, compared with those in the control, those in the affirmation condition had increased negative discrepancies (became less discrepant over time). Among men, compared with those in the control, those in the affirmation condition had increased positive discrepancies (became more discrepant over time).
... The intervention was initially designed as a mechanism to bolster self-esteem (Steele & Liu, 1983); later, Steele and Aronson (1995) delivered the intervention with marginalised groups to combat stereotype threat. Recent studies have examined threats to social belonging and employed a cultural mismatch theoretical background as one possible explanation for why the intervention may be effective for participants who are prone to question if they belong in a certain environment (e.g., Harackiewicz et al., 2014;Layous et al., 2017). pressure to perform in a way to rebuke the stereotype (Steele & Aronson, 1995). ...
Article
Brief social-psychological interventions, like the values affirmation (VA), that target individual feelings of competency and buffer against social threats, have been shown to effectively reduce achievement gaps in randomised controlled trials. In the current study, underrepresented minority and first-generation college students in their first university semester (N = 496) were randomly assigned to receive the VA electronically or complete an online survey (control). Results revealed: (a) VA participants did not engage with the intervention in a manner typical of past VA studies that delivered the intervention as a class activity; (b) VA students had lower semester grade point averages (GPAs) than control students; and (c) contrary to previous studies, neither stereotype threat nor social belonging moderated the effectiveness of the VA. These findings further emphasise the importance of the context within which the VA is delivered and highlight the challenges that accompany increasing the reach of the VA through a widespread, online delivery.
... Belonging is important for intentions to persist in academic endeavors. 43 Strategies such as values affirmation, ie, affirming the importance of a task for achieving goals, can ameliorate the consequences of reduced belonging 61 and may be incorporated into surgical curricula as interventions to promote self-worth and motivation. ...
Article
Importance Factors contributing to underrepresentation of women in surgery are incompletely understood. Pro-male bias and stereotype threat appear to contribute to gender imbalance in surgery. Objectives To evaluate the association between pro-male gender bias and career engagement and the effect of stereotype threat on skill performance among trainees in academic surgery. Design, Setting, and Participants A 2-phase study with a double-blind, randomized clinical trial component was conducted in 3 academic general surgery training programs. Residents were recruited between August 1 and August 15, 2018, and the study was completed at the end of that academic year. In phase 1, surveys administered 5 to 6 months apart investigated the association of gender bias with career engagement. In phase 2, residents were randomized 1:1 using permuted-block design stratified by site, training level, and gender to receive either a trigger of or protection against stereotype threat. Immediately after the interventions, residents completed the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) assessment followed by a final survey. A total of 131 general surgery residents were recruited; of these 96 individuals with academic career interests met eligibility criteria; 86 residents completed phase 1. Eighty-five residents were randomized in phase 2, and 4 residents in each arm were lost to follow-up. Intervention Residents read abstracts that either reported that women had worse laparoscopic skill performance than men (trigger of stereotype threat [A]) or had no difference in performance (protection against stereotype threat [B]). Main Outcomes and Measures Association between perception of pro-male gender bias and career engagement survey scores (phase 1) and stereotype threat intervention and FLS scores (phase 2) were the outcomes. Intention-to-treat analysis was conducted. Results Seventy-seven residents (38 women [49.4%]) completed both phases of the study. The association between pro-male gender bias and career engagement differed by gender (interaction coefficient, −1.19; 95% CI, −1.90 to −0.49; P = .02); higher perception of bias was associated with higher engagement among men (coefficient, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.19-2.24; P = .04), but no significant association was observed among women (coefficient, −0.25; 95% CI, −1.59 to 1.08; P = .50). There was no evidence of a difference in FLS score between interventions (mean [SD], A: 395 [150] vs B: 367 [157]; P = .51). The response to stereotype threat activation was similar in men and women (interaction coefficient, 15.1; 95% CI, −124.5 to 154.7; P = .39). The association between stereotype threat activation and FLS score differed by gender across levels of susceptibility to stereotype threat (interaction coefficient, −35.3; 95% CI, −47.0 to −23.6; P = .006). Higher susceptibility to stereotype threat was associated with lower FLS scores among women who received a stereotype threat trigger (coefficient, −43.4; 95% CI, −48.0 to −38.9; P = .001). Conclusions and Relevance Perception of pro-male bias and gender stereotypes may influence career engagement and skill performance, respectively, among surgical trainees. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03623009
... Another strategy is to measure psychological threat using validated scales. For example, in Layous et al. (2017), White men were found to have a relatively low level of belonging in school and exhibited the greatest benefit of the affirmation. ...
Chapter
A theory-based intervention known as “self-affirmation” provides people with the opportunity to affirm a sense of self-integrity, a global image of moral and adaptive adequacy, at moments of psychological threat. By assuaging threat, affirmations can allay stress and defensive responding. The positive impact of self-affirmations has been shown in many domains including health, intergroup conflict, prejudice, and education. In these domains, persistent threats to self-integrity can impede adaptive outcomes. Affirmations, by broadening the perceived bases of self-integrity, render these threats less dire. The focus of the present chapter is on affirmations in educational institutions, although it will touch on affirmation research conducted in other contexts. On the whole, affirmation interventions have been shown to be powerful yet conditional in their effects. They have large and lasting benefits under theoretically specified conditions: when people are under persistent psychological threat that impedes adaptive outcomes, when the affirmation is well-timed to this threat and activates the self-affirmation process, and where other resources for positive change are available and thus likely to be activated once psychological threat has been assuaged. The mechanisms behind both short-term and long-term effects of self-affirmation interventions are discussed. To illuminate the theoretical and practical considerations in applying self-affirmation interventions, a case study is presented. Researchers working in a German school system with a large immigrant population sought to apply self-affirmation. Because the intervention was developed in North America, the successful application depended on being attentive to the underlying mechanisms and theoretical moderators. In a final section, lingering theoretical and applied questions are discussed.
... Various other studies showed that specific educational problems can also be addressed by targeted interventions. For instance, helping first-year students with the college transition [4] [5], closing achievement gaps for racial/ethnic minority students [6] [7], motivating students to pursue science careers [8] [9], enhancing student learning outcomes [10] [11], promoting STEM career among women [12], and psychological processes relevant to the problem [13] [14] are all examples of targeted interventions. ...
... Second, because individuals spend so much of their time at school, research has sought to understand the relationship between school connectedness and factors such as academic success (Blum and Libbey, 2004). Layous et al. (2017) found that students with low school connectedness declined academically over the course of 3 semesters. However, those who had a low sense of school belonging and then completed a self-affirming writing activity found that their academic achievements rose. ...
Article
This study advances our understanding on the relationship between ethnic identity and school connectedness in adolescents. Exploration in this research area is fundamental as the UK has shown an increased prevalence for which wellbeing difficulties can be identified, and an increase in ethnic diversity in children and young people (NHS Digital, 2018 and Ainscow et al., 2016). The associated challenges for education provisions are that wellbeing requires more action towards promotion and intervention, and ethnic group differences should be minimised to encourage equality. Applied to an educational setting, research has shown that both school connectedness and ethnic identity can contribute to the prediction of an individual’s outcomes, e.g. academic attainment, however, it appears from the results of the study’s systematic literature review that little research in the UK has examined the relationship between the two. Using a cross-sectional survey design, secondary school students (n=295) were able to provide their self-assessed ethnic identity and to consider statements regarding the strength of their ethnic identity, and their feelings of school connectedness. The results of the study found that strength of ethnic identity was significantly higher for students who were Asian/Asian British compared to their White ethnic group peers. Additionally, strength of identity was significantly higher for Year 10 students compared to Year 7. Students who were Asian/Asian British had significantly higher feelings of school connectedness in comparison to their White or Black/African/Caribbean/Black British peers. Positive correlations were found between all measures of strength of identity (centrality, private, and public regard) and school connectedness. Centrality and private regard, when considered together, were the best predictors of school connectedness. The results indicate that there are some ethnic group differences for both strength of ethnic identity and feelings of school connectedness. The implications of findings are that educators should give consideration to strengthening ethnic identity as this will contribute to an increase in school connectedness. An increase for both will help to promote wellbeing and positive individual outcomes.
... The sense of inclusivity resonates with that of blending in [19] [20] [21][22] [23] , fitting in [24] , and learning in unison [25] , but certain circumstances are hard to explain in grades and numbers and needs a little digging up in a more personal domain to understand the truth behind every experience [26] . The closest study conducted of student personal experience, the feeling of being left focused on the exploration of the negative effects of low belonginess [27] . ...
Article
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Academic performance in the form of grades have been the defining factor for a student to be classified into groups. With the questions on the quality of teaching and learning, it is best to focus on students who felt left out of the academic circle. Thus, Phenomenological Research, with the of a semi-structured interview, identified and explored the college students' life experiences who felt being left out because of their deviation from typical high achievers. The research was based on Sternberg's Theory of Thinking Styles and Perry's Theory of Cognitive Development. From the data analyses with implementation of the Colaizzi Process, three major themes emerged: (1) Admitting Limitation; (2) Understanding Exclusion; and (3) Self-Worth Valuation. The result showed that these students shared an experience of being excluded due to their academic ability. They mostly end up leaving the academic circle as a major resort in escaping the feeling of being left out. Despite such unfortunate predicament, they aspire to do good in areas where they excel and slowly gain the confidence in believing one's self. It is recommended that the schools place equal value and attention to all types of students. Further and in-depth studies is also recommended.
... The No Child Left Behind Act was implemented to make sure that students feel included, that they are valued, and they are excelling with their peers (Abedi, 2004;Klein, 2015;Menken, 2009 (Reay et al., 2010), and learning in unison (Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2014), but certain circumstances are hard to explain in grades and numbers and need a little digging up in a more personal domain to understand the truth behind every experience (Symeonides & Childs, 2015). The closest study conducted on student's personal experience, the feeling of being left, focused on the exploration of the negative effects of low feeling of belongingness (Layous et al., 2017). It can be noted that to truly grapple the essence of academic performance, one must fully immerse in the experiences of the students in terms of their sense of relatedness and fitting in, and how they perceive themselves. ...
Article
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In the era of the 21st Century to make teaching more effective and interesting for learner’s technology plays a vital role. Teaching refers as an act of stimulus for the psychological and intellectual growth of a person. Learning technology refers to the technological tools which assist for learning, teaching and assessment. So we can say that in today’s pedagogy combination of teaching and technology which help the learning process for both teachers and learners. In this learning process the multimedia has a better tool to explore the new teaching method. Multimedia in ESL classroom provide an opportunity for both teachers and students to make learning and teaching more interesting with illustrated features so that learners become motivated to teach. This article aims to analyze the role of multimedia in ESL classroom with its useful strategies, the role of teachers dealing with multimedia assisted teaching and implementation of multimedia in ESL classroom in context of teaching perspective.
... The No Child Left Behind Act was implemented to make sure that students feel included, that they are valued, and they are excelling with their peers (Abedi, 2004;Klein, 2015;Menken, 2009 (Reay et al., 2010), and learning in unison (Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2014), but certain circumstances are hard to explain in grades and numbers and need a little digging up in a more personal domain to understand the truth behind every experience (Symeonides & Childs, 2015). The closest study conducted on student's personal experience, the feeling of being left, focused on the exploration of the negative effects of low feeling of belongingness (Layous et al., 2017). It can be noted that to truly grapple the essence of academic performance, one must fully immerse in the experiences of the students in terms of their sense of relatedness and fitting in, and how they perceive themselves. ...
Thesis
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This is to introduce you to an excellent and incomparable system of education for true human development and peace! We can see, if we look around carefully with a little watchful eye, the whole human race is going through a terrible crisis and severe illness. And as the days go by, the intensity of this misery and suffering is increasing. To this day, no one has been able to stop the inhumane acts of injustice, corruption, oppression, rape, deception, violence, hatred, cruelty, destructive activities, etc. that are perpetrated by people all over the world. Religion, monarchy or politics, administration or any powerful system or organization has not yet been able to solve this difficult problem of mankind. The root cause of most man-made problems is the lack of consciousness and knowledge. The blind-faith, blind devotion, superstition and mental illness all arises from that. The only solution to this is to introduce the fundamental man-making education system in every school for the students to become rational in the right way and gain mental development.
... First-generation students also tend to experience cultural mismatch, with the relatively interdependent norms of their upbringing being incongruent with the relatively independent norms of university culture (Stephens, Fryberg, et al., 2012). Students from more affluent and educated backgrounds, by contrast, are normative for the university and are less likely to experience a lack of belonging stemming from their demographic or high school background (Layous et al., 2017). We posit that having peers from one's high school present at the university provides students with social capital to help navigate the transition and thrive in college. ...
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The social experience of transitioning to a 4-year university varies widely among students. Some attend with few or no prior contacts or acquaintances from their hometown; others attend with a large network of high school alumni. Using a sample (N = 43,240) of undergraduates spanning 7.5 years at a public university, we examine what factors predict high school peer prevalence (HSPP) on campus and whether HSPP predicts college achievement above and beyond such factors. Analyses found that HSPP was predicted by variables associated with societal privilege (e.g., being White, continuing generation). Above and beyond these variables, HSPP independently predicted higher grades in gateway STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses and, among first-generation college students, higher retention. The role of HSPP in fostering equity and inequity is discussed. A preprint of this article is available at https://psyarxiv.com/xhpuc/ .
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This meta-analysis assessed the impact of values affirmation on the academic achievement of students under social identity threats in actual classrooms. After a systematic search yielded 58 relevant studies, multilevel analyses identified an overall affirmation effect for identity-threatened students (Hedges' g = 0.15), not for identity-nonthreatened students (Hedges' g = 0.01). Heterogeneity in the affirmation effect was moderate to high for identity-threatened students, with effect sizes associated with (1) a larger covariate-controlled achievement gap between nonthreatened and threatened students in the control condition, suggestive of psychological underperformance, (2) the availability of financial resources in school, (3) more distal performance outcomes, and (4) the presentation of values affirmation as a normal classroom activity rather than a research study or a non-normal classroom activity. Affirmation appears to work best when it is delivered as a normal classroom activity and where identity threat co-occurs with resources for improvement and time to await cumulative benefits. https://osf.io/guxrc/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/KJDZHDFMABPS6DVYJST5?target=10.1111/josi.12415
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This study examines the effectiveness of a self-affirmation intervention to improve academic achievement for students with a “double-jeopardy status” of belonging to two potentially disadvantaged groups at the same time: girls with a minority background. The method established in the U.S. is adapted to the German cultural context and evaluated for its immediate and medium-term efficacy on math achievement among girls as well as among ethnic minority youth after the transition to secondary school. We applied a double-blind pre-post experimental design with randomized treatment allocation in 11 schools (N = 820, seventh graders with various ethnic backgrounds). Following the intervention of a brief in-class writing assignment about their personal values, students performed a standardized mathematics test. A follow-up achievement test, but no intervention, was administered eight weeks later to assess the midterm effectiveness of the treatment. Between assessments students received a written feedback about their scores in the math test. The multi-level linear model results show that (1) double-jeopardy in math performance exists, as shown by independent negative effects of female gender and Turkish or Arab minority group membership; (2) Girls from all ethnic backgrounds and students with Turkish immigrant background in the intervention group performed significantly better in the mathematics test immediately after the intervention than their peers in the control group. (3) Eight weeks later, the intervention effect only persisted for students with minority ethnic backgrounds: Turkish and Arabic students in the intervention group scored significantly higher in the standardized mathematics test compared to their peers in the control group. (4) We found no support for a triple interaction effect of treatment, ethnic background, and gender. That is, girls with a Turkish or an Arabic background did not benefit more from the self-affirmation intervention than other minority or female students. Results are discussed in relation to self-affirmation theory and how such interventions can be applied in secondary school mathematics curricula.
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Connections between students and faculty on campus may influence students’ sense of belonging, and a greater sense of belonging has a positive effect on student success. We developed a low-cost, faculty-led program of community-building events and implemented the program in the biology department at a small liberal-arts institution with the goal of improving students’ sense of community.
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We explored the influence of supervisor positive feedback on employees' in-role and extrarole performance, and the mediating role of promotion focus in these relationships. Data were gathered at three time points from 373 Chinese employees and their immediate supervisors. We used hierarchical linear regression and the PROCESS macro to test our hypotheses. The results show that supervisor positive feedback was positively related to promotion focus, which was also positively related to employees' in-role and extrarole performance. In addition, promotion focus mediated the supervisor positive feedback–employee performance relationship. Our findings suggest that organizational managers should provide employees with positive feedback to improve their promotion focus, thereby enhancing employees' in-role and extrarole performance.
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Self-affirmation—a theory-based technique to affirm the adaptive adequacy of the self—can promote positive behavior change and adaptive outcomes, although effects are variable. We extend a novel framework (Trigger and Channel), proposing three conditions that facilitate self-affirmation-induced behavior change: (a) presence of psychological threat, (b) presence of resources to foster change, and (c) timeliness of the self-affirmation with respect to threat and resources. Using health behavior as a focus, we present meta-analytic evidence demonstrating that when these conditions are met, self-affirmation acts as a psychological trigger into a positive channel of resources that facilitate behavior change. The presence of a timely threat and the availability of timely resources independently predicted larger self-affirmation effects on behavior change, and the two interacted synergistically to predict still larger effects. The results illustrate the conditionality of self-affirmation effects and offer guidelines for when, where, and for whom self-affirmation will be most effective.
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This paper defines teacher empathy, argues that teacher empathy enhances student learning, and offers suggestions for increasing teacher empathy. Teacher empathy is the degree to which an instructor works to deeply understand students’ personal and social situations, to feel care and concern in response to students’ positive and negative emotions, and to respond compassionately without losing the focus on student learning. Teacher empathy is communicated to students through course policies as well as the instructor’s behavior toward students. To increase teacher empathy, we review non-pejorative explanations for undesirable student behavior (e.g., fear of failure), and we suggest ways in which faculty can learn about their students and can structure course policies to increase teacher empathy. Ultimately, we call for research on teacher empathy and student learning.
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Autobiographical memories are relevant to many areas of psychological functioning. So far, however, there is no evidence whether personal memories can also be instrumental for self-affirmation. We conducted two experiments, varying national identity threat among U.S. Americans recruited through MTurk. In Study 1, participants spontaneously recalled autobiographical memories after being exposed to varying levels of threat. When the threat was identity-relevant, those who spontaneously recalled mastery autobiographical memories had higher collective self-esteem than those who did not. In Study 2, we instructed participants to recall either mastery autobiographical memories or routine memories. When the threat was identity-relevant, collective self-esteem was again higher for mastery recall compared to routine recall, moderated by national identification and self-esteem. We also found a general, self-affirmative effect of autobiographical memories, regardless of threat relevance or recall content. Findings provide a first empirical demonstration that autobiographical recall can enhance self-affirmation in identity threat situations.
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Social–psychological interventions in education have shown remarkable promise as brief, inexpensive, and powerful methods for improving educational equity and inclusion by helping underperforming students realize their potential. These findings have led to intensive study and replication attempts to understand and close achievement gaps at scale. In the present review, we identify several significant issues this work has raised that bear on the theoretical, ethical, and policy implications of using these interventions to close achievement gaps. Using both classic and contemporary models of threat and performance, we propose a Zone Model of Threat to predict when social–psychological interventions in education may yield positive, null, and negative effects for specific students. From this analysis, we argue from an ethical standpoint that to reduce backfire effects, interventions should be focused on optimizing the salience of psychological threat across students rather than on uniformly reducing it. As a long‐term policy goal, intervention studies should follow a two‐step process, in which students’ individual levels of threat are first diagnosed and then interventions are tailored to the students based on their threat levels. Practical and theoretical implications of the proposed framework are discussed.
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A three-year field experiment at an ethnically diverse middle school (N = 163) tested the hypothesis that periodic self-affirmation exercises delivered by classroom teachers bolsters students' school trust and improves their behavioral conduct. Students were randomly assigned to either a self-affirmation condition, where they wrote a series of in-class essays about personally important values, or a control condition, where they wrote essays about personally unimportant values. There were no behavioral effects of affirmation at the end of 6th grade, after students had completed four writing exercises. However, after four additional exercises in 7th grade, affirmed students had a significantly lower rate of discipline incidents than students in the control condition. The effect continued to grow and did not differ across ethnic groups, such that during 8th grade students in the affirmation condition on average received discipline at a 69% lower rate than students in the control condition. Analyses of student climate surveys revealed that affirmation was associated with higher school trust over time, a tendency that held across ethnic groups and partially mediated the affirmation effect on discipline. Repeated self-affirmation can bolster students' school trust and reduce the incidence of discipline in middle school, findings with both theoretical and practical implications.
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Sense of belonging plays a key role in college students' persistence and successful degree completion. This study evaluated how social factors contributed to students’ sense of belonging at a major Midwestern university when controlling for individual-level and academic factors. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that students’ sense of belonging was significantly associated with underrepresented backgrounds, personality traits, adjustment to college, and friendship variables. We discuss the potential implications of these relationships in promoting retention and student success.
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Environments that are hostile to one or more marginalized groups are known to have a negative effect on the mental health and well-being of both targets and observers. Anti-fat attitudes have been well documented in medical education, including the use of derogatory humor and discriminatory treatment toward higher-weight patients. However, to date, it is not known what effect observing weight stigma and discrimination during medical school has on medical students’ psychological health and wellbeing, sense of belonging, and medical school burnout. The present study surveyed a total of 3994 students enrolled across 49 US medical schools at the start of their first year and at the end of their fourth year. Participants reported the frequency with which they had observed stigmatizing and discriminatory behaviors targeted at both higher-weight patients and higher-weight students during their four years of medical school. Observed weight stigma was prevalent, and was associated with worse psychological and general health, reduced medical school belonging and increased medical school burnout. The indirect effects of observed weight stigma on medical school burnout, via belonging, psychological health, and general health, were statistically significant in the sample as a whole, but were more pronounced in higher-weight students. This effect may be explained, in part, by the relationship between observed stigma and medical school belonging. Higher levels of observed stigma were associated with reduced feelings of belonging in higher-weight but not normative-weight students. Top-down institutional culture change is needed to rectify this situation, which is detrimental to both students and patients.
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Self-affirmation is a promising brief intervention for reducing the academic achievement gap between majority and stigmatized groups (e.g., underrepresented minorities, women in STEM fields). Affirmations are thought to improve academic performance among stigmatized groups by expanding one’s sense of self, buffering social belonging, and reducing social identity threat. Despite encouraging results, some studies suggest that affirmations may inadvertently decrease the academic performance of nonthreatened White students. We conducted experimental studies to evaluate whether an affirmation focused on the theme of social belonging (i.e., belonging-affirmation) decreased the math performance of White males. We hypothesized that the belonging-affirmation would enhance performance for female participants but diminish math performance for White male participants. Two studies were conducted to evaluate these hypotheses: (1) a lab-based study involving 122 White male and mixed-ethnicity female undergraduates, and (2) an online study involving 197 young adult White males and females. Results failed to support study hypotheses, with no substantive differences in math performance found between male and female participants randomized to a belonging-affirmation versus neutral writing control. These findings are consistent with recent large-scale field replication failures of self-affirmation interventions, indicating that the phenomena may be more nuanced and fragile than suggested by early research findings.
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Objective: Prior research suggests that social connectedness is associated with lower levels of depression among college students. The aim of this exploratory study was to determine if an association existed between social activity, need to belong, and depression. Variations in study measures by race, gender, and student status were also explored. Participants: Data was collected from students attending a large university in the southeastern United States during the Spring 2019 academic semester (N = 299). Methods: Participants completed an anonymous self-administered survey, which was offered in both electronic and paper formats. Results: Need to belong significantly predicted depression among college students even when accounting for social activity and response bias. Study measures varied significantly based on race, gender, and student status. Conclusion: Belonging and social connectedness may be utilized by collegiate stakeholders to increase student and university outcomes.
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This randomized controlled trial examined the impact of The Connection Project, an experiential, relationship‐focused intervention designed to improve school belongingness and decrease symptoms of depression and loneliness among new college students. Participants were 438 first‐year and transfer students (232 treatment, 206 waitlist‐control) at a medium‐sized, 4years, predominantly White public university in the Southeastern United States. At postintervention, the treatment group reported significant relative increases in school belonging and significant relative reductions in levels of loneliness and depressive symptoms in comparison to waitlist‐controls. Program effects were stronger for students from marginalized racial or ethnic backgrounds, students from lower socioeconomic status households, and transfer students. Results are interpreted as suggesting the utility of experiential, peer‐support prevention programming to promote college students' well‐being, particularly college students who hold identities that are traditionally disadvantaged in this context. Participants report reduced depression and loneliness relative to waitlist‐controls. Participants report increased belongingness at their school, even when remote. Program benefits are strongest for marginalized students, most at‐risk for disconnection. Experiential programming and supportive peer relationships promote college students' well‐being. Prevention programming may be a first line to reducing burden on college mental health services. Participants report reduced depression and loneliness relative to waitlist‐controls. Participants report increased belongingness at their school, even when remote. Program benefits are strongest for marginalized students, most at‐risk for disconnection. Experiential programming and supportive peer relationships promote college students' well‐being. Prevention programming may be a first line to reducing burden on college mental health services.
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The present experiment investigated the personal meaning of a behavior and state social anxiety as predictors of behavioral action. Participants (N = 68) were given the chance to take the behavioral action of recording a statement for a video blog. Participants were randomized to personal meaning (n = 34; assigned to speak on the social issue most important to them and completed a personal meaning enhancement writing task) or control (n = 34; assigned to speak on the social issue least important to them and completed a control writing task) conditions. The results indicated that having personal meaning in a behavior significantly predicted the behavioral action. The findings suggest that having personal meaning in a social anxiety‐provoking behavior can increase the likelihood of that behavior. Clinical implications and limitations of the study are also discussed.
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This paper theorizes that academic interventions will be maximally effective when they are culturally grounded. Culturally grounded interventions acknowledge cultural differences and validate multiple cultural models in a given context. This review highlights the importance of considering culture in academic interventions and draws upon the culture cycle framework to provide a blueprint for those interested in building more efficacious interventions. Specifically, the paper reviews literature in education and psychology to argue: first, when working-class and racial minority students' cultural models are not valued in mainstream academic domains, these students underperform; and second, many current academic interventions intended to improve working-class and racial minority students' academic outcomes could be further enhanced by cultural grounding.
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First-generation college students (students for whom neither parent has a 4-year college degree) earn lower grades and worry more about whether they belong in college, compared with continuing-generation students (who have at least 1 parent with a 4-year college degree). We conducted a longitudinal follow-up of participants from a study in which a values-affirmation intervention improved performance in a biology course for first-generation college students, and found that the treatment effect on grades persisted 3 years later. First-generation students in the treatment condition obtained a GPA that was, on average,.18 points higher than first-generation students in the control condition, 3 years after values affirmation was implemented (Study 1A). We explored mechanisms by testing whether the valuesaffirmation effects were predicated on first-generation students reflecting on interdependent values (thus affirming their values that are consistent with working-class culture) or independent values (thus affirming their values that are consistent with the culture of higher education). We found that when first-generation students wrote about their independence, they obtained higher grades (both in the semester in which values affirmation was implemented and in subsequent semesters) and felt less concerned about their background. In a separate laboratory experiment (Study 2) we manipulated the extent to which participants wrote about independence and found that encouraging first-generation students to write more about their independence improved their performance on a math test. These studies highlight the potential of having FG students focus on their own independence.
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First-generation college students (students for whom neither parent has a 4-year college degree) earn lower grades and worry more about whether they belong in college, compared with continuing-generation students (who have at least 1 parent with a 4-year college degree). We conducted a longitudinal follow-up of participants from a study in which a values-affirmation intervention improved performance in a biology course for first-generation college students, and found that the treatment effect on grades persisted 3 years later. First-generation students in the treatment condition obtained a GPA that was, on average, .18 points higher than first-generation students in the control condition, 3 years after values affirmation was implemented (Study 1A). We explored mechanisms by testing whether the values-affirmation effects were predicated on first-generation students reflecting on interdependent values (thus affirming their values that are consistent with working-class culture) or independent values (thus affirming their values that are consistent with the culture of higher education). We found that when first-generation students wrote about their independence, they obtained higher grades (both in the semester in which values affirmation was implemented and in subsequent semesters) and felt less concerned about their background. In a separate laboratory experiment (Study 2) we manipulated the extent to which participants wrote about independence and found that encouraging first-generation students to write more about their independence improved their performance on a math test. These studies highlight the potential of having FG students focus on their own independence. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Many students start college intending to pursue a career in the biosciences, but too many abandon this goal because they struggle in introductory biology. Interventions have been developed to close achievement gaps for underrepresented minority students and women, but no prior research has attempted to close the gap for first-generation students, a population that accounts for nearly a 5th of college students. We report a values affirmation intervention conducted with 798 U.S. students (154 first-generation) in an introductory biology course for majors. For first-generation students, values affirmation significantly improved final course grades and retention in the 2nd course in the biology sequence, as well as overall grade point average for the semester. This brief intervention narrowed the achievement gap between first-generation and continuing-generation students for course grades by 50% and increased retention in a critical gateway course by 20%. Our results suggest that educators can expand the pipeline for first-generation students to continue studying in the biosciences with psychological interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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People have a basic need to maintain the integrity of the self, a global sense of personal adequacy. Events that threaten self-integrity arouse stress and self-protective defenses that can hamper performance and growth. However, an intervention known as self-affirmation can curb these negative outcomes. Self-affirmation interventions typically have people write about core personal values. The interventions bring about a more expansive view of the self and its resources, weakening the implications of a threat for personal integrity. Timely affirmations have been shown to improve education, health, and relationship outcomes, with benefits that sometimes persist for months and years. Like other interventions and experiences, self-affirmations can have lasting benefits when they touch off a cycle of adaptive potential, a positive feedback loop between the self-system and the social system that propagates adaptive outcomes over time. The present review highlights both connections with other disciplines and lessons for a social psychological understanding of intervention and change.
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Across a variety of adverse life circumstances, such as social isolation and low socioeconomic status, mammalian immune cells have been found to show a conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA) involving increased expression of proinflammatory genes. The present study examines whether such effects might stem in part from the selective up-regulation of a subpopulation of immature proinflammatory monocytes (Ly-6c(high) in mice, CD16(-) in humans) within the circulating leukocyte pool. Transcriptome representation analyses showed relative expansion of the immature proinflammatory monocyte transcriptome in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from people subject to chronic social stress (low socioeconomic status) and mice subject to repeated social defeat. Cellular dissection of the mouse peripheral blood mononuclear cell transcriptome confirmed these results, and promoter-based bioinformatic analyses indicated increased activity of transcription factors involved in early myeloid lineage differentiation and proinflammatory effector function (PU.1, NF-κB, EGR1, MZF1, NRF2). Analysis of bone marrow hematopoiesis confirmed increased myelopoietic output of Ly-6c(high) monocytes and Ly-6c(intermediate) granulocytes in mice subject to repeated social defeat, and these effects were blocked by pharmacologic antagonists of β-adrenoreceptors and the myelopoietic growth factor GM-CSF. These results suggest that sympathetic nervous system-induced up-regulation of myelopoiesis mediates the proinflammatory component of the leukocyte CTRA dynamic and may contribute to the increased risk of inflammation-related disease associated with adverse social conditions.
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Two experiments examined for the first time whether the specific content of participant-generated affirmation essays-in particular, writing about social belonging-facilitated an affirmation intervention's ability to reduce identity threat among negatively stereotyped students. Study 1, a field experiment, revealed that seventh graders assigned to a values-affirmation condition wrote about social belonging more than those assigned to a control condition. Writing about belonging, in turn, improved the grade point average (GPA) of Black, but not White students. In Study 2, using a modified "belonging-affirmation" intervention, we directly manipulated writing about social belonging before a math test described as diagnostic of math ability. The more female participants wrote about belonging, the better they performed, while there was no effect of writing about belonging for males. Writing about social belonging improved performance only for members of negatively stereotyped groups. Implications for self-affirmation theory and practice are discussed.
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To the extent that stereotype and identity threat undermine academic performance, social psychological interventions that lessen threat could buffer threatened students and improve performance. Two studies, each featuring a longitudinal field experiment in a mixed-ethnicity middle school, examined whether a values affirmation writing exercise could attenuate the achievement gap between Latino American and European American students. In Study 1, students completed multiple self-affirmation (or control) activities as part of their regular class assignments. Latino American students, the identity threatened group, earned higher grades in the affirmation than control condition, whereas White students were unaffected. The effects persisted 3 years and, for many students, continued into high school by lifting their performance trajectory. Study 2 featured daily diaries to examine how the affirmation affected psychology under identity threat, with the expectation that it would shape students' narratives of their ongoing academic experience. By conferring a big-picture focus, affirmation was expected to broaden construals, prevent daily adversity from being experienced as identity threat, and insulate academic motivation from identity threat. Indeed, affirmed Latino American students not only earned higher grades than nonaffirmed Latino American students but also construed events at a more abstract than concrete level and were less likely to have their daily feelings of academic fit and motivation undermined by identity threat. Discussion centers on how social-psychological processes propagate themselves over time and how timely interventions targeting these processes can promote well-being and achievement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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Two longitudinal field experiments in a middle school examined how a brief "values affirmation" affects students' psychological experience and the relationship between psychological experience and environmental threat over 2 years. Together these studies suggest that values affirmations insulate individuals' sense of belonging from environmental threat during a key developmental transition. Study 1 provided an analysis of new data from a previously reported study. African American students in the control condition felt a decreasing sense of belonging during middle school, with low-performing students dropping more in 7th grade and high-performing students dropping more in 8th grade. The affirmation reduced this decline for both groups. Consistent with the notion that affirmation insulates belonging from environmental threat, affirmed African American students' sense of belonging in Study 1 fluctuated less over 2 years and became less contingent on academic performance. Based on the idea that developmentally sensitive interventions can have long-lasting benefits, Study 2 showed that the affirmation intervention was more effective if delivered before any drop in performance and subsequent psychological toll could unfold. The role of identity threat and affirmation in affecting the encoding of social experience, and the corresponding importance of timing treatments to developmentally sensitive periods, are explored.
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A brief intervention aimed at buttressing college freshmen's sense of social belonging in school was tested in a randomized controlled trial (N = 92), and its academic and health-related consequences over 3 years are reported. The intervention aimed to lessen psychological perceptions of threat on campus by framing social adversity as common and transient. It used subtle attitude-change strategies to lead participants to self-generate the intervention message. The intervention was expected to be particularly beneficial to African-American students (N = 49), a stereotyped and socially marginalized group in academics, and less so to European-American students (N = 43). Consistent with these expectations, over the 3-year observation period the intervention raised African Americans' grade-point average (GPA) relative to multiple control groups and halved the minority achievement gap. This performance boost was mediated by the effect of the intervention on subjective construal: It prevented students from seeing adversity on campus as an indictment of their belonging. Additionally, the intervention improved African Americans' self-reported health and well-being and reduced their reported number of doctor visits 3 years postintervention. Senior-year surveys indicated no awareness among participants of the intervention's impact. The results suggest that social belonging is a psychological lever where targeted intervention can have broad consequences that lessen inequalities in achievement and health.
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Three studies investigated whether self-affirmation can proceed without awareness, whether people are aware of the influence of experimental self-affirmations, and whether such awareness facilitates or undermines the self-affirmation process. The authors found that self-affirmation effects could proceed without awareness, as implicit self-affirming primes (utilizing sentence-unscrambling procedures) produced standard self-affirmation effects (Studies 1 and 3). People were generally unaware of self-affirmation's influence, and self-reported awareness was associated with decreased impact of the affirmation (Studies 1 and 2). Finally, affirmation effects were attenuated when people learned that self-affirmation was designed to boost self-esteem (Study 2) or told of a potential link between self-affirmation and evaluations of threatening information (Study 3). Together, these studies suggest not only that affirmation processes can proceed without awareness but also that increased awareness of the affirmation may diminish its impact.
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A 2-year follow-up of a randomized field experiment previously reported in Science is presented. A subtle intervention to lessen minority students' psychological threat related to being negatively stereotyped in school was tested in an experiment conducted three times with three independent cohorts (N = 133, 149, and 134). The intervention, a series of brief but structured writing assignments focusing students on a self-affirming value, reduced the racial achievement gap. Over 2 years, the grade point average (GPA) of African Americans was, on average, raised by 0.24 grade points. Low-achieving African Americans were particularly benefited. Their GPA improved, on average, 0.41 points, and their rate of remediation or grade repetition was less (5% versus 18%). Additionally, treated students' self-perceptions showed long-term benefits. Findings suggest that because initial psychological states and performance determine later outcomes by providing a baseline and initial trajectory for a recursive process, apparently small but early alterations in trajectory can have long-term effects. Implications for psychological theory and educational practice are discussed.
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Previous research has repeatedly shown that writing about an important value, compared with writing about an unimportant value, reduces defensiveness in response to self-threatening information, but has not identified why. Study 1 showed that participants who wrote about an important value reported more positive other-directed feelings, such as love and connection, than participants who wrote about an unimportant value. Study 2 replicated this effect, and showed that loving and connected feelings, but not positive or negative self-directed feelings, completely accounted for the effect of a values-affirmation manipulation on smokers' acceptance of information indicating that smoking harms health. These studies, in concert with previous research, suggest that values affirmation reduces defensiveness via self-transcendence, rather than self-integrity (i.e., self-worth or self-images).
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A hypothesized need to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships is evaluated in light of the empirical literature. The need is for frequent, nonaversive interactions within an ongoing relational bond. Consistent with the belongingness hypothesis, people form social attachments readily under most conditions and resist the dissolution of existing bonds. Belongingness appears to have multiple and strong effects on emotional patterns and on cognitive processes. Lack of attachments is linked to a variety of ill effects on health, adjustment, and well-being. Other evidence, such as that concerning satiation, substitution, and behavioral consequences, is likewise consistent with the hypothesized motivation. Several seeming counterexamples turned out not to disconfirm the hypothesis. Existing evidence supports the hypothesis that the need to belong is a powerful, fundamental, and extremely pervasive motivation.
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Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. Accordingly, research guided by self-determination theory has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development. Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatedness--which when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being. Also considered is the significance of these psychological needs and processes within domains such as health care, education, work, sport, religion, and psychotherapy.
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Three studies examined the effects of randomly assigned messages of social exclusion. In all 3 studies, significant and large decrements in intelligent thought (including IQ and Graduate Record Examination test performance) were found among people told they were likely to end up alone in life. The decline in cognitive performance was found in complex cognitive tasks such as effortful logic and reasoning; simple information processing remained intact despite the social exclusion. The effects were specific to social exclusion, as participants who received predictions of future nonsocial misfortunes (accidents and injuries) performed well on the cognitive tests. The cognitive impairments appeared to involve reductions in both speed (effort) and accuracy. The effect was not mediated by mood.
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Six experiments showed that being excluded or rejected caused decrements in self-regulation. In Experiment 1, participants who were led to anticipate a lonely future life were less able to make themselves consume a healthy but bad-tasting beverage. In Experiment 2, some participants were told that no one else in their group wanted to work with them, and these participants later ate more cookies than other participants. In Experiment 3, excluded participants quit sooner on a frustrating task. In Experiments 4-6, exclusion led to impairment of attention regulation as measured with a dichotic listening task. Experiments 5 and 6 further showed that decrements in self-regulation can be eliminated by offering a cash incentive or increasing self-awareness. Thus, rejected people are capable of self-regulation but are normally disinclined to make the effort.
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Two randomized field experiments tested a social-psychological intervention designed to improve minority student performance and increase our understanding of how psychological threat mediates performance in chronically evaluative real-world environments. We expected that the risk of confirming a negative stereotype aimed at one's group could undermine academic performance in minority students by elevating their level of psychological threat. We tested whether such psychological threat could be lessened by having students reaffirm their sense of personal adequacy or "self-integrity." The intervention, a brief in-class writing assignment, significantly improved the grades of African American students and reduced the racial achievement gap by 40%. These results suggest that the racial achievement gap, a major social concern in the United States, could be ameliorated by the use of timely and targeted social-psychological interventions.
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Three studies examined the effects of randomly assigned messages of social exclusion. In all 3 studies, significant and large decrements in intelligent thought (including IQ and Graduate Record Examination test performance) were found among people told they were likely to end up alone in life. The decline in cognitive performance was found in complex cognitive tasks such as effortful logic and reasoning: simple information processing remained intact despite the social exclusion. The effects were specific to social exclusion, as participants who received predictions of future nonsocial misfortunes (accidents and injuries) performed well on the cognitive tests. The cognitive impairments appeared to involve reductions in both speed (effort) and accuracy. The effect was not mediated by mood.
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A key question about achievement motivation is how to maintain it over time and in the face of stress and adversity. The present research examines how a motivational process triggered by a social-psychological intervention propagates benefits over a long period of time and creates an enduring shift in the way people interpret subsequent adversity. During their first or second year of college, 183 Latino and White students completed either a values affirmation intervention or control exercise as part of a laboratory study. In the affirmation intervention, students wrote about a core personal value, an exercise that has been found in previous research to buffer minority students against the stress of being negatively stereotyped in school. This single affirmation improved the college grade point average (GPA) of Latino students over 2 years. Students were re-recruited for a follow-up session near the end of those 2 years. Results indicated that GPA benefits occurred, in part, because the affirmation shifted the way Latino students spontaneously responded to subsequent stressors. In particular, in response to an academic stressor salience task about their end-of-semester requirements, affirmed Latino students spontaneously generated more self-affirming and less self-threatening thoughts and feelings as assessed by an open-ended writing prompt. They also reported having a greater sense of their adequacy as assessed by measures of self-integrity, self-esteem, and hope, as well as higher academic belonging. Discussion centers on how and why motivational processes can trigger effects that persist over surprisingly long periods of time.
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Five studies tested hypotheses derived from the sociometer model of self-esteem according to which the self-esteem system monitors others' reactions and alerts the individual to the possibility of social exclusion. Study 1 showed that the effects of events on participants' state self-esteem paralleled their assumptions about whether such events would lead others to accept or reject them. In Study 2, participants' ratings of how included they felt in a real social situation correlated highly with their self-esteem feelings. In Studies 3 and 4, social exclusion caused decreases in self-esteem when respondents were excluded from a group for personal reasons, but not when exclusion was random, but this effect was not mediated by self-presentation. Study 5 showed that trait self-esteem correlated highly with the degree to which respondents generally felt included versus excluded by other people. Overall, results provided converging evidence for the sociometer model.
Chapter
This chapter discusses, improving the academic performance of college students with brief attributional interventions. Attribution theory originated in the late 1950s and these theorists advocated a phenomenological approach to the study of human behavior. Consistent with a phenomenological approach, the focus is on the way the students perceive the causes of their poor performance because these attributions are believed to have important consequences that are independent of the actual causes. Attribution theory assumes that within this range of abilities, the explanation people make for their performance is crucial. The chapter reviews attempts to use attribution therapy to help college students improve their academic performance, beginning with a brief review of the history of attribution therapy. Re-attribution approach arose from a confluence of different research traditions. The chapter concludes that, re-attribution is a technique that attempts to change people's explanations about the dysfunctional behavior itself, regardless of whether that behavior is accompanied by physiological arousal.
Article
We present an "affirmation as perspective" model of how self-affirmations alleviate threat and defensiveness. Self-threats dominate the working self-concept, leading to a constricted self disproportionately influenced by the threat. Self-affirmations expand the size of the working self-concept, offering a broader perspective in which the threat appears more narrow and self-worth realigns with broader dispositional self-views (Experiment 1). Self-affirmed participants, relative to those not affirmed, indicated that threatened self-aspects were less all-defining of the self (although just as important), and this broader perspective on the threat mediated self-affirmation's reduction of defensiveness (Experiment 2). Finally, having participants complete a simple perspective exercise, which offered a broader perspective on the self without prompting affirmational thinking (Experiment 3a), reduced defensiveness in a manner equivalent to and redundant with a standard self-affirmation manipulation (Experiment 3b). The present model offers a unifying account for a wide variety of seemingly unrelated findings and mysteries in the self-affirmation literature.
Article
The authors tested the hypothesis that affirming self-transcendent values attenuates negative consequences of self-threat better than affirming self-enhancement values. If value-affirmation buffers against threat because it bolsters the self, then affirming either a self-transcendent or self-enhancement value should similarly prevent typical decreased self-control after exclusion. However, if value-affirmations buffer the effects of threat because they promote self-transcendence, then affirming values related to self-transcendence should provide a better buffer against decreased self-control after exclusion. Ninety-two undergraduate students received either intentional or unintentional social exclusion. Participants then affirmed either a self-transcendent or self-enhancement value, or wrote about their daily routine. Consistent with predictions, participants ate more cookies when they were intentionally rather than unintentionally excluded; this effect was attenuated by affirming an important value, especially a self-transcendent value. This suggests that value-affirmation may be a particularly effective method of coping with self-threats when it increases self-transcendence.
Article
Self-affirmation processes are being activated by information that threatens the perceived adequacy or integrity of the self and as running their course until this perception is restored through explanation, rationalization, and/or action. The purpose of these constant explanations (and rationalizations) is to maintain a phenomenal experience of the self-self-conceptions and images as adaptively and morally adequate—that is, as competent, good, coherent, unitary, stable, capable of free choice, capable of controlling important outcomes, and so on. The research reported in this chapter focuses on the way people cope with the implications of threat to their self-regard rather than on the way they cope with the threat itself. This chapter analyzes the way coping processes restore self-regard rather than the way they address the provoking threat itself.
Article
Simple slopes, regions of significance, and confidence bands are commonly used to evaluate interactions in multiple linear regression (MLR) models, and the use of these techniques has recently been extended to multilevel or hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) and latent curve analysis (LCA). However, conducting these tests and plotting the conditional relations is often a tedious and error-prone task. This article provides an overview of methods used to probe interaction effects and describes a unified collection of freely available online resources that researchers can use to obtain significance tests for simple slopes, compute regions of significance, and obtain confidence bands for simple slopes across the range of the moderator in the MLR, HLM, and LCA contexts. Plotting capabilities are also provided.
Article
Much research has shown that after being self-affirmed, people respond to challenges in healthy, productive ways, including better task performance. The current research demonstrates that self-affirmation can also deflate motivation and performance, a pattern consistent with goal disengagement. We posited that being self-affirmed and then attempting but failing at a task would lead people to retreat from the goal. In support of this hypothesis, 4 experiments found that the combination of self-affirmation and the experience of failure led to demotivation and effort reduction. Experiment 1 found that self-affirmed participants, more so than nonaffirmed participants, reported being open to goal disengagement. Experiment 2 found that affirming core values before trying a task beset with failure reduced task motivation and performance. Experiment 3 demonstrated the robustness of the effect and found that failure on one task reduced motivation and performance on a new but related task. Experiment 4 revealed that being self-affirmed and experiencing failure caused participants to feel less capable of pursuing their goals, which produced poorer performance. These findings suggest that affirming the self can lead people to internalize the implications of failure, which in turn leads to goal disengagement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
What if being lonely were a bigger problem than we ever suspected? Based on John T. Cacioppo's pioneering research, Loneliness explores the effects of this all-too-human experience, providing a fundamentally new view of the importance of social connection and how it can rescue us from painful isolation. His sophisticated studies relying on brain imaging, analysis of blood pressure, immune response, stress hormones, behavior, and even gene expression show that human beings are simply far more intertwined and interdependent—physiologically as well as psychologically—than our cultural assumptions have ever allowed us to acknowledge. Bringing urgency to the message, Cacioppo's findings also show that prolonged loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking or obesity. On the flip side, they demonstrate the therapeutic power of social connection and point the way toward making that healing balm available to everyone. Cacioppo has worked with science writer William Patrick to trace the evolution of these tandem forces, showing how, for our primitive ancestors, survival depended not on greater brawn but on greater commitments to and from one another. Serving as a prompt to repair frayed social bonds, the pain of loneliness engendered a fear response so powerfully disruptive that even now, millions of years later, a persistent sense of rejection or isolation can impair DNA transcription in our immune cells. This disruption also impairs thinking, will power, and perseverance, as well as our ability to read social signals and exercise social skills. It also limits our ability to internally regulate our emotions—all of which can combine to trap us in self-defeating behaviors that reinforce the very isolation and rejection that we dread. Loneliness shows each of us how to overcome this feedback loop of defensive behaviors to achieve better health and greater happiness. For society, the potential payoff is the greater prosperity and social cohesion that follows from increased social trust. Ultimately, Loneliness demonstrates the irrationality of our culture's intense focus on competition and individualism at the expense of family and community. It makes the case that the unit of one is actually an inadequate measure, even when it comes to the health and well-being of the individual. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
Five studies tested hypotheses derived from the sociometer model of self-esteem according to which the self-esteem system monitors others' reactions and alerts the individual to the possibility of social exclusion. Study 1 showed that the effects of events on participants' state self-esteem paralleled their assumptions about whether such events would lead others to accept or reject them. In Study 2, participants' ratings of how included they felt in a real social situation correlated highly with their self-esteem feelings. In Studies 3 and 4, social exclusion caused decreases in self-esteem when respondents were excluded from a group for personal reasons, but not when exclusion was random, but this effect was not mediated by self-presentation. Study 5 showed that trait self-esteem correlated highly with the degree to which respondents generally felt included versus excluded by other people. Overall, results provided converging evidence for the sociometer model.
Article
The use of growth-modeling analysis (GMA)--including hierarchical linear models, latent growth models, and general estimating equations--to evaluate interventions in psychology, psychiatry, and prevention science has grown rapidly over the last decade. However, an effect size associated with the difference between the trajectories of the intervention and control groups that captures the treatment effect is rarely reported. This article first reviews 2 classes of formulas for effect sizes associated with classical repeated-measures designs that use the standard deviation of either change scores or raw scores for the denominator. It then broadens the scope to subsume GMA and demonstrates that the independent groups, within-subjects, pretest-posttest control-group, and GMA designs all estimate the same effect size when the standard deviation of raw scores is uniformly used. Finally, the article shows that the correct effect size for treatment efficacy in GMA--the difference between the estimated means of the 2 groups at end of study (determined from the coefficient for the slope difference and length of study) divided by the baseline standard deviation--is not reported in clinical trials.
Article
Stigmatization can give rise to belonging uncertainty. In this state, people are sensitive to information diagnostic of the quality of their social connections. Two experiments tested how belonging uncertainty undermines the motivation and achievement of people whose group is negatively characterized in academic settings. In Experiment 1, students were led to believe that they might have few friends in an intellectual domain. Whereas White students were unaffected, Black students (stigmatized in academics) displayed a drop in their sense of belonging and potential. In Experiment 2, an intervention that mitigated doubts about social belonging in college raised the academic achievement (e.g., college grades) of Black students but not of White students. Implications for theories of achievement motivation and intervention are discussed.
First in my family: A profile of first-generation college students at four-year institutions since 1971
  • V B Saenz
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  • D Barrera
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Saenz, V. B., Hurtado, S., Barrera, D., Wolf, D., & Yeung, F. (2007). First in my family: A profile of first-generation college students at four-year institutions since 1971. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.
The psychology of self-affirmation: Sustaining the integrity of the self Advances in experimental social psychology: Social psychological studies of the self: Perspectives and programs. 21
  • C M Steele
Steele, C. M. (1988). The psychology of self-affirmation: Sustaining the integrity of the self. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology: Social psychological studies of the self: Perspectives and programs. 21. (pp. 261–302). New York: Norton.
The Condition of Education
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2012n). The Condition of Education 2012 (NCES 2012-045). Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/ programs/coe/indicator_cva.asp. University of Colorado, Diversity Report (2009-2010). Office of Academic Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.cu.edu/office-academic-affairs/diversity-reports on July 5, 2016 (pp. 36-37).
Improving the academic performance of college students with brief attributional interventions
  • T D Wilson
  • M Damiani
  • N Shelton
Wilson, T. D., Damiani, M., & Shelton, N. (2002). Improving the academic performance of college students with brief attributional interventions. In J. Aronson (Ed.), Improving academic achievement: Impact of psychological factors on education (pp. 89-108). Oxford, England: Academic Press.