This research investigated stereotype threat effects on women’s performance in sports and examined the mediation of this effect by achievement goals. The influence of two stereotypes—relative to the poor athletic ability and the poor technical soccer ability of women—were studied. Fifty-one female soccer players were randomly assigned to one of three conditions, introducing the task as diagnostic of athletic ability, technical soccer ability, or sports psychology. Next, they filled out a questionnaire measuring achievement goals and performed a soccer dribbling task. Results showed that compared with the control condition, females’ performance significantly decreased in the athletic ability condition and tended to decrease in the technical soccer ability condition. Moreover, participants endorsed a performance-avoidance (relative to performance-approach) goal when the stereotypes were activated. However, this goal endorsement was not related to performance. The implications of these results for understanding the role of stereotypes in gender inequalities in sports are discussed.
Chalabaev and Sarrazin are with the Laboratoire Sport et Environnement Social, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France; Stone is with the Psychology Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; and Cury is with Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Université de Provence, Marseille, France.