The student -athlete: One identity or two separate identities? The role of identity salience and stereotype threat in athletic and academic performance
This research examined the impact of stereotype threat and identity salience on academic performance in male students at a highly-selective liberal arts college, as well as whether fear of negative evaluation and individuals' perception of role conflict between athlete- and student-identities moderate this effect. In Study 1, seventy-seven student-athletes were recruited to participate in a study on personality and problem-solving. Participants were randomly assigned to read one of five experimental conditions (athlete success, athlete failure, academic success, academic failure or a control), and then completed a brief math test. Results indicated that athletes in the athlete-success, academic-failure, and control condition performed significantly worse on a math test than those who in the athletic-failure and academic-success conditions. Moreover, the negative effects of stereotype threat were moderated by both role separation (RS), with athletes high in RS showing the most debilitating effects, role interference (RI), with student-athletes high in RI showing the most debilitating effects. Study 2 demonstrated that student-athletes who perform an athletic task prior to an academic task perform worse than those who perform the academic task first. Order of task does not matter for non-student-athletes. The discussion focuses and explains a potential identity shift hypothesis.