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Coping With Ethnic Stereotypes in the Academic Domain: Perceived Injustice and Psychological Disengagement



Psychological disengagement is the defensive detachment of self-esteem from a particular domain. In the academic arena, disengagement can result from devaluing academic success or discounting the validity of academic outcomes. We review evidence for ethnic differences in these two processes of psychological disengagement and present results of a multiethnic study examining perceived ethnic injustice and academic performance as predictors of devaluing and discounting. Among African American students, beliefs about ethnic injustice (but not academic performance) predicted greater discounting and devaluing. Among European American students, poor academic performance (but not beliefs about ethnic injustice) predicted greater devaluing and discounting. Among Latino/a students, beliefs about ethnic injustice were associated with greater discounting, whereas poorer academic performance was associated with increased devaluing.

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