Self-affirmation facilitates minority middle schoolers’ progress along college trajectories

J. Parker Goyer, Julio Garcia, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, Kevin R. Binning, Jonathan E. Cook, Stephanie L. Reeves, Nancy Apfel, Suzanne Taborsky-Barba, David K. Sherman, Geoffrey L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Small but timely experiences can have long-term benefits when their psychological effects interact with institutional processes. In a followup of two randomized field experiments, a brief values affirmation intervention designed to buffer minority middle schoolers against the threat of negative stereotypes had long-term benefits on college-relevant outcomes. In study 1, conducted in the Mountain West, the intervention increased Latino Americans’ probability of entering a college readiness track rather than a remedial one near the transition to high school 2 y later. In study 2, conducted in the Northeast, the intervention increased African Americans’ probability of college enrollment 7–9 y later. Among those who enrolled in college, affirmed African Americans attended relatively more selective colleges. Lifting a psychological barrier at a key transition can facilitate students’ access to positive institutional channels, giving rise to accumulative benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7594-7599
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 18 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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