My Professional Information

My primary area of interest I am interested the social and mental health consequences of the experience of discrimination. In my examination of the social consequences of experiencing discrimination, I have long been interested in the integration of learned helplessness into intergroup theories of collective action. Just as learned helplessness theories question when people will participate in instrumental versus helplessness behaviors, I ask when will minority group members act against discrimination or exhibit social helplessness (behaviors that reflect acceptance of discrimination, or "giving up" attempts to alter the status quo). One finding I have been intrigued with is that, consistent with learned helplessness theories, responding to it with negative affect reduces collective action. 

If sadness about discrimination decreases instrumental behaviors to alter the discrimination, then there exists a feedback loop between the state of the individual and the state of the system. Indeed, if the relationship between the individual and system is negative, minority group members continue to experience health risks associated with discrimination.

This has led me to more closely examine the factors that may buffer the negative mental health effects of experiencing discrimination. I am currently interested in how the trait, "hardiness" may potentially reduces the stress and anxiety related to discrimination.


    UNDERGRADUATE: University of Western Ontario, Canada, B.A., Honors, 1989

    GRADUATE: Carleton University, Canada, M.A., 1991; Ph.D., 1996


    1996-2000: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of North Dakota.

    2000 to present: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, West Chester University


    Foster, M. D. (2000). Utilization of global attributions in recognizing and responding to gender discrimination among college women. Current Psychology, 19, 57-69.


    Foster, M. D. (2001). The motivational quality of global attributions in hypothetical and experienced situations of gender discrimination. Psychology of Women Quarterly,25, 242-253.

    Foster, M. D. (2000). Positive and negative responses to personal discrimination: Does coping make a difference? Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 93-106.

    Foster, M. D. (1999). Acting out against discrimination: The effects of different social identities. Sex Roles, 40,167-186.

    Foster, M. D. & Matheson, K. (1999). Perceiving and responding to the personal/group discrimination discrepancy Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1319-1329.

    Foster, M. D., & Matheson, K. (1998). Perceiving and feeling the personal/group discrimination discrepancy: Motivation or inhibition for action? Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 1, 165-174.

    Foster, M. D. & Matheson, K. (1995). Double relative deprivation: Combining the personal and political. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 1167-1177.

    Foster, M. D. & Matheson, K. & Poole, M. (1994). Responding to sexual discrimination: The effects of societal versus self-blame. Journal of Social Psychology, 134, 743-754.

    Matheson, K., Warren, K. & Foster, M. D. & Painter, C. (2000). Reactions to affirmative action: Seeking the bases for resistance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30, 1013-1038.




Foster, M. D. & Dion, K. L. (2001). Hardiness: A buffer from negative effects of gender discrimination...or denial?

Foster, M .D., Jackson, C. L., Hartmann, R., & Woulfe, S. (2001). The motivated change in attributions for gender discrimination as evidence for denial of personal discrimination.

Foster, M. D. (2001). The Personal/Group Discrimination Discrepancy and Equivalence: Psychological meanings and behavioral implications.

Foster, M. D. (2001). Womenís and menís actions against gender discrimination.


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Last Updated August 15, 2000 by Mindi D. Foster