Being a victim of discrimination is a stressful life experience that requires effective coping strategies. Historically, the dominant focus of research on discrimination has been on the perpetrators of discrimination. Far less is known about the experience of victims of discrimination. The goal of the present research to do just that. The proposed program of research investigates how individuals cope with discrimination by focusing on the role of social cognition. A series of experiments is proposed to examine (1) minimization of discrimination - if the tendency to downplay or minimize discrimination is specific to members of low status groups or extends to high status group members; (2) positive illusions - whether the tendency to minimize discrimination is an overly positive evaluation that is more typical among the mentally healthy than among depressed persons; and (3) social comparisons - how people use information about the outcomes of others in evaluating their own negative outcomes. This research will illuminate the mechanisms that may be employed by individuals in coping with discrimination.
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