Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lahna Catalino

Reader 2

Theodore Bartholomew



The self-affirmation theory postulates that when an individual is faced with a threat, they have an inherent motivation to affirm the positive beliefs they carry about themselves. (Steele, 1988). The use of these affirmations has been shown to be extremely effective in academic environments, boosting performance in students and also reducing their stress levels. However, there is very little research on the long-term effects of Self-affirmations on performance, and negligible research on its long-term effects on stress. This present study will aim to further understand the immediate effects as well as the longitudinal impact of these affirmations on individuals exposed to a threatening situation. It will make use of a mathematical test as the threatening situation as well as the performance indicator, and a self-report stress measure - the STAI-Y short (Bergua et al, 2012), along with cortisol to analyze stress levels. It hypothesizes that the participants who undergo the self-affirmation intervention will score higher on the mathematical test, will report lower levels of stress, and have lower levels of cortisol than those in the non-affirming condition. Additionally, it anticipates that one month later, when exposed to a similar threatening situation, the previously self-affirmed participants will still perform better on the test, report lower levels of stress and have lower levels of cortisol as compared to the non-affirming participants.

Included in

Psychology Commons