Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Fischer, Ann


In an effort to extend the literature (e.g., Landry & Mercurio, 2009; Moradi & Hasan, 2004) on the effects of discrimination on personal sense of control, this current study aims to examine how African American women's sense of personal control is affected by their beliefs about discrimination and how their beliefs about justice and fairness in their own lives further explain the relationship. A total of 173 African American or Black identified women were recruited through professional contacts, an undergraduate psychology course, and social media networking sites. Participants' awareness of discrimination was experimentally manipulated by random assignment to one of four conditions suggesting varying likelihoods of personally experiencing discrimination. Participants responded to self-report instruments of Personal Beliefs in a Just World (Dalbert, 1999) before the manipulation and Environmental Mastery (Ryff, 1989; measure of personal control) as the dependent variable after the manipulation. It was predicted that a significant interaction term between experimental condition and just world beliefs on personal control would supersede any main effects. Yet only a significant main effect was found between personal beliefs in a just world and personal control, with no significant interaction effects.




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