When Roles Reverse: Stigma, Status, and Self-Evaluation1


  • 1

    This research was supported by a National Science Foundation Minority Predoctoral Fellowship (NSF Grant #SBR-9733706) and a Knox Bequest Research Grant from Harvard University Department of Psychology. The authors would like to thank Elizabeth Johnson. Debi LPlante, Margaret Shih. Hillary Anger-Elfenbein. Todd Pittinsky, Rebecca Wolfe. Andy Molinsky, as well as two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on previous drafts of this manuscript. We also thank Elenore Antoine, Heather Beasley. Bethany Otuteye. and Sheila Flynn for their assistance with data collection

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jennifer A. Richeson, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Dartmouth College. 6207 Moore Hall, Hanover, NH 03755. e-mail: jriches@dartmouth.edu


Self-evaluations after interracial and dyadic interactions were examined. African American and White females interacted with either a same- or different-race partner in one of 3 role conditions: the high-status role of an interviewer, the low-status role of an applicant, or a peer of equal status. Following the interaction, responses to the Collective Self-Esteem scale (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992) assessed social self-evaluation, while the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965) and the State Self-Esteem scale (Heather-ton & Polivy. I99I) assessed personal seif-esteem. Combinations of racial composition and situational role had striking influences on self-evaluations. For instance, when situa-tional roles signaled a reversal from societal status, participants reported lower collective self-esteem than when situational and societal status were consistent. Thus, roles can have compelling consequences for self-evaluation after intergroup interactions.