First Advisor

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn

Date of Publication

Winter 3-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Sexism -- Case studies, Racism -- Case studies, Stereotypes (Social psychology), Women -- Social conditions -- Case studies, White women, African American women



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 236 pages)


In this dissertation, I present three manuscripts in which I integrate race into an ambivalent sexism framework using experimental, correlational, and cross-sectional methods. The first paper tests whether a female's race acts as a subtype to differentially elicit benevolent sexism (BS). Two experiments demonstrated that BS is more strongly associated with White women than Black women. The second paper explores the relationship between protective paternalism (a subcomponent of BS), anti-minority attitudes, and threat. Threat was associated with stronger endorsement of protective paternalism and a corresponding increase in anti-minority attitudes, particularly for White men, implicating BS in the maintenance of racial inequality. Finally, my third study investigated potential real-world consequences of the differential application of BS to Black and White women in the context of police responses to intimate partner violence (IPV). Officers were more likely to file supplemental paperwork for White victims than Black victims, and were most likely to do so when encountering a White victim and a Black suspect. White victims were also written about with a greater "risk focus", consistent with BS. In sum, chapter II establishes racial differences in who receives BS, chapter III demonstrates how paternalistic protections of White women are racialized, and chapter IV reveals how the intersection of BS with racial stereotypes may impact women seeking help from police. This dissertation is the first investigation in the social psychological literature of how race informs the targets, function, and consequences of BS.


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