Engineering Exchanges: Daily Social Identity Threat Predicts Burnout Among Female Engineers

William M. Hall, Toni Schmader, Elizabeth Croft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Efforts to promote women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) require a clearer understanding of the experience of social identity threat outside academic contexts. Although social identity threat has been widely studied among students, very little research has examined how the phenomenon occurs naturalistically among working professionals in ways that could undermine productivity and well-being. The present research employed daily diary methodology to examine conversations with colleagues as triggers of social identity threat among a sample of 44 male and 52 female working engineers. Results of multilevel modeling revealed that (1) women (but not men) reported greater daily experiences of social identity threat on days when their conversations with male (but not female) colleagues cued feelings of incompetence and a lack of acceptance, and (2) these daily fluctuations of social identity threat predicted daily levels of mental exhaustion and psychological burnout. The implications for social identity threat in working professionals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-534
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • gender diversity
  • social identity threat
  • subtle bias
  • women in STEM

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