Stereotype threat is a widely supported theory for understanding the racial achievement gap in college grade performance. However, today's minority college students are increasingly of immigrant origins, and it is unclear whether two dispositional mechanisms that may increase susceptibility to stereotype threat are applicable to immigrants. We use survey data to examine whether and how negative ability stereotypes affect the grades of 1,865 first, second, and third generation or higher (domestic) minority students at 28 selective American colleges. Structural equation model results indicate that first generation immigrants are highly-resistant to both dispositional identity threat mechanisms we consider. Second generation immigrants experience only certain dispositional elements of identity threat. Drawing on research in social psychology, we suggest immigrants tend to resist stereotype threat in part due to the primacy of their immigrant identities and their connectedness to the opportunity structure of mainstream society.
Keywords: College Performance; Education; Immigrants; Stereotype Threat.