Decoding the dynamics of social identity threat in the workplace: a within-person analysis of women’s and men’s interactions in STEM

William Hall, Toni Schmader, Audrey Aday, Elizabeth Croft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The present research examined whether women’s daily experience of social identity threat in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) settings is triggered by a lack of acceptance during workplace conversations with male colleagues that then predicts daily experiences of burnout. To test these hypotheses, participants from two samples (N = 389) rated their daily interactions with colleagues across 2 weeks. Results revealed that (1) women reported greater daily experiences of social identity threat on days when their work conversations with men cued a lack of acceptance, (2) these daily fluctuations of social identity threat predicted feelings of mental burnout, and (3) these effects were not found among men or for nonwork-relevant conversations. Additional analyses showed that these results were not driven by highly hostile workplace conversations between men and women, nor were they accounted for by individual differences in women’s sensitivity to perceiving gender bias, status differences, or by women being explicitly undermined by colleagues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-552
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • gender
  • interactions
  • social identity threat
  • stereotypes
  • workplace burnout

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