Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Anna Newheiser

Second Advisor

Dr. Jason Randall

Abstract

The present study examined the hypothesis that female students with first- or second-generation immigrant status (vs. their native-born peers) would be better prepared academically and have stronger intentions of pursuing and staying within their current field of study. We focused specifically on students in STEM versus non-STEM fields, as STEM fields are traditionally male-dominated. We predicted that female immigrant STEM majors in particular would not only perform better than their non-immigrant male peers, but also cope with stressors more efficiently and be less vulnerable to stereotype threat. We tested our predictions by assigning participants to one of two possible conditions where their social identity was either made salient at the beginning or end of the study. We measured academic preparedness, likelihood to stay in one’s field of study, general and academic stress, coping skills, and parental involvement in academics. The results are discussed in terms of seven research questions. As predicted, female immigrant STEM majors reported a stronger intention to remain within STEM, relative to native-born male STEM majors. This key finding aligns with the hypothesis that female STEM students from immigrant backgrounds can indeed outperform their native-born male peers on some indices of academic performance.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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