Date of Award

9-23-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Forrester Lee, MD

Abstract

CHOOSING TO ACHIEVE: SAME DOMAIN AFFIRMATIONS AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. David E. Myles and Forrester Lee., MD. Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Investigators have observed decrements in the inter-ethnic disparity in academic achievement among middle-school students as a result of self-affirming manipulations. In the current study the tested hypothesis is that students who are African-American will: 1. choose to self-affirm in the domain of academics; and 2. be observed to earn a higher grade-point average (GPA) as a result of such self-affirmations. Self-affirmations made in the same domain as that of the dependent variable being measured have historically led to adverse outcomes. This study suggests that three conditions are necessary for same-domain affirmations to result in beneficial outcomes: 1. there must be a perceived threat; 2. the domain must be of personal relevance; and 3. participants must freely choose the domain in which they self-affirm. Two independent evaluators conducted a content analysis of the self-affirmation manipulations. It was observed that students who are African American chose to self-affirm in the domain of academics statistically greater than students who were not African American (Χ2 = 2.62; OR = 2.4; p < 0.1). The results from this study support the hypothesis that students who are African American do choose to self-affirm in academics, but there was no resultant relative increase in academic achievement (all t's < 1.3, all p's > .20).

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