Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Gloria Gonzales-Morales

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michelle Bligh

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Cindi Gilliland

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Larry Martinez

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2023 Veronica Scott


DEI, diversity, intervention, training

Subject Categories

Organizational Behavior and Theory | Psychology


Despite frequent use by organizations, diversity training rarely provides meaningful impacts upon individuals’ biases or behaviors (Bezrukova et al., 2016; Devine & Asch, 2022). In contrast, the bias habit-breaking intervention (Devine et al., 2012; Carnes et al., 2015) is a 2+ hour workshop that has been found to increase equitable hiring of women in faculty positions (Carnes et al., 2015; Devine et al., 2017), as well as increased individuals’ motivation to respond without bias (Carnes et al., 2015; Devine et al., 2017). The intervention has been progressively iterated upon and replicated in primarily academic organizational contexts (Cox et al., 2022 preprint). In the current study, I adapted the habit-breaking intervention to a non-academic and non-for-profit organizational context and tested the intervention’s effect on employees’ awareness of gender bias, motivation to respond without sexism, behavioral intentions, and behaviors. I used a 3x2 cluster-randomized controlled experimental design, with most measures applied before (pre), after (post) and 10 days after (follow-up) the intervention. Though a lack of statistical power limited the ability to observe statistical significance, I observed small effect sizes in the external and internal motivation, strategy use intentions, and strategy use from pre-test to follow-up of the employees in the intervention group compared to employees in the control group. Differences in the experiences of belonging, uniqueness, or inclusion overall from pre-test to follow-up were non-significant and effect sizes were negligible. To follow up on these findings, I conducted exploratory independent t-tests and moderation analyses. At follow-up, I found that participants in the intervention group reported greater intention to seek diverse perspectives and belief that they are noticing biases at follow-up than did participants in the control group. The exploratory moderation analyses suggest that the intervention may be most effective for those who have high levels of gender bias denial prior to the intervention. The findings do not provide evidence of a backlash effect, which is notable given that many related trainings may provoke unintended consequences. Additionally, open-ended survey answers suggest that participants had diverse responses to the intervention, many of whom highlighted how they would use the learnings in their personal lives (rather than at work). Overall, the findings indicate a lack of backlash, but also a lack of clear sustained results at follow-up for the full sample. Given these findings and the limitations of low statistical power, future research might examine behavioral change outside of work and consider boundary conditions related to participants’ initial attitudes. It is important to continue exploring this training in non-academic organizations that can provide larger sample sizes.