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Age and race differences in racial stereotype awareness and endorsement


  • Kristine Copping is now at the Department of Psychology, Huntingdon College.
  • Data collection for this study was supported by National Institute of Mental Health grant P50 MH52429 to Robert Cairns. Authors were supported during the writing of this report by NSF grant DRL-0819079.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kristine E. Copping, Department of Psychology, Huntingdon College, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106, USA. E-mail:


Age and race differences in race stereotype awareness and endorsement were examined in 382 Black and White fourth, sixth, and eighth graders. Youths reported their own beliefs and their perceptions of adults' beliefs about racial differences in ability in two domains: academics and sports. Children's own endorsement of race stereotypes was highly correlated with their perceptions of adults' race stereotypes. Blacks reported stronger traditional sports stereotypes than Whites, and 4th- and 6th-grade Blacks reported roughly egalitarian academic stereotypes. At every grade level, Whites reported academic stereotypes that favored Whites, and 6th- and 8th-grade Whites reported sports stereotypes that favored Blacks. Results support the tenets of status theory and have implications for identity development and achievement motivation in adolescents.