Social Norms Regarding Protected Status and Threat Reactions to the Stigmatized


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stephanie Madon, Department of Psychology, W112 Lagomarcino Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail:


This research examines whether social norms regarding a stigma's protection from prejudice differentially affect explicit and implicit threat reactions to the stigmatized, and the degree to which such differences can be accounted for by socially desirable responding, internalized egalitarian values, and dual attitudes about stigmatized individuals. Participants (N= 78) completed a traditional self-report measure to assess explicit reports of threat toward targets from stigmatized social groups and the Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) to assess implicit reports of threat toward the targets’ stigmas. Results indicated that social norms regarding a stigma's protection from prejudice influenced threat reactions on the explicit measure, but not on the implicit measure. Dual attitudes toward the stigmatized best accounted for this pattern.