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Journal Articles Psychology of Women Quarterly Year : 2016

Virtues of a Hardworking Role Model to Improve Girls’ Mathematics Performance

Abstract

Previous research has shown that female role models can improve women’s math performance, whereas male role models can lower it. In this field experiment, we examined the following research questions: (a) Does the explanation a role model gives for the role model’s success in math help girls perform as well as boys in math, regardless of the role model’s gender? And (b) what are the underlying mechanisms of the role models’ influence? Sixth graders were exposed to the description of a female or male role model before a difficult math test; they were informed about the reason for the role model’s math success (exerted effort vs. being gifted vs. no explanation). The results indicated that girls scored as well as boys on a difficult math test after exposure to a hardworking role model. They performed less well than boys after exposure to a role model whose success was not explained or was explained by the role model’s gift. Moreover, serial mediation analyses showed that both boys and girls identified more with the hardworking role model than with the other two role models, which increased the boys’ and girls’ perceived self-efficacy in math and in turn increased math performance. We discuss the contributions of this study to identifying relevant role models for girls in math.
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Dates and versions

hal-03160765 , version 1 (05-03-2021)

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Céline Bagès, Catherine Verniers, Delphine Martinot. Virtues of a Hardworking Role Model to Improve Girls’ Mathematics Performance. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2016, 40 (1), pp.55-64. ⟨10.1177/0361684315608842⟩. ⟨hal-03160765⟩
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