This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We would like to thank Donna Lockett for her help on this project.
Reactions to Affirmative Action: Seeking the Bases for Resistance1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 1013–1038, May 2000
How to Cite
Matheson, K. J., Warren, K. L., Foster, M. D. and Painter, C. (2000), Reactions to Affirmative Action: Seeking the Bases for Resistance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30: 1013–1038. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2000.tb02508.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
It has been argued that affirmative action negatively affects the self-perceptions of beneficiaries. In contrast, it was hypothesized that this would not occur when individual qualifications were explicitly considered and, indeed, that failure under discrimination would be more self-detrimental. However, perceptions of reverse discrimination may buffer negative self-attributions on the part of nonbeneficiaries. Responses in an experimental simulation indicated that, of several affirmative actions for women, passive nondiscrimination was viewed as the fairest response to discrimination. While women's self-perceptions were not affected by affirmative actions, they did suffer under failure. The presence of affirmative actions did not alleviate the effects of failure on men's self-perceptions. Possible alternatives for resistance to affirmative action are assessed and discussed.