What are the odds? How demographic similarity affects the prevalence of perceived employment discrimination

J Appl Psychol. 2008 Mar;93(2):235-49. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.2.235.


Because research is needed to identify the conditions that facilitate or impede the prevalence of perceived workplace discrimination, the authors examined the effects of demographics and demographic similarity on the prevalence of sex- and race/ethnicity-based perceived workplace discrimination. Results from a national survey of 763 full-time, United States employees show perceived sex-based discrimination at work was more prevalent among female than male employees, and perceived race-based discrimination at work was more prevalent among Black and Hispanic than White employees. Additionally, perceived racial/ethnic discrimination was less prevalent among those with same-race/ethnicity supervisors. The effect of employee-coworker sex similarity on perceived sex discrimination was significant only for women, and the effects of supervisor-subordinate racial similarity on the prevalence of perceived racial discrimination varied between Black and White respondents, depending on employee-residential-community racial similarity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Demography
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Prejudice*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data