Perceived Discrimination, Stereotype Threat, Grit, and Neuropsychological Performance in African Americans

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Joseph R. Morris, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Samuel T. Beasley, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Douglas V. Davidson, Ph.D.


African American, grit, neuropsychological assessment, neuropsychology, perceived discrimination, stereotype threat


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of perceived discrimination, stereo-type threat, and grit on the neuropsychological performance of African Americans. Within the field of neuropsychology there is a paucity of research exploring cultural and contextual variables that contribute to low performance outcomes for ethnic minorities on neuropsychological assessments in comparison to European Americans (Fujii, 2018; Mindt et al., 2010). Perceived discrimination and stereotype threat have been shown to lower performance outcomes for African Americans on neuropsychological assessments (Barnes et al., 2012; Thames et al., 2013). Because of their lower performance outcomes on neuropsychological assessments, African Americans are at greater risk for being inaccurately diagnosed as impaired, limiting their ability to function independently (Mindt et al., 2010).

This study sought to better understand the effects of perceived discrimination and stereo-type threat on the neuropsychological performance of African Americans and explored whether a brief psychoeducational intervention could reduce or eliminate the stereotype threat effect. As there is a paucity of literature on non-cognitive positive predictors of performance (Hill & Aita, 2018), this study also explored the ability of grit to predict performance outcomes on neuropsychological assessments. A brief web-based neuropsychological evaluation was conducted to obtain participant neuropsychological performance (NP) scores. Participants consisted of 80 African Americans across the United States. The study utilized a 2 (stereotype threat vs. no stereotype threat) x 2 (intervention vs. no intervention) factorial design. An ANOVA, independent sample t-test, and simple linear regressions were conducted to test four hypotheses.

Results of this study indicated that the conditions participants were placed in had an effect on their neuropsychological performance; that a brief psychoeducational intervention was not able to mitigate the stereotype threat effect; higher grit scores were implicated in better neuro-psychological performance; and high levels of perceived discrimination were not related to poor neuropsychological performance.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until


This document is currently not available here.