Research article

Social Evaluation at a Distance – Facets of Stereotype Content about Student Groups in Higher Distance Education



In the academic domain, belonging to a negatively stereotyped group can impair performance and peer relationships. In higher distance education, stereotypes may be particularly influential as face-to-face contact is limited and non-traditional students who are at risk of being stereotyped are overrepresented. Still, research on stereotypes in higher distance education is sparse. The current research addresses this gap by investigating the Big Two of social perception (warmth, competence) and subordinate facets (friendliness, morality, assertiveness, ability, conscientiousness) in the context of higher distance education. It tests a) how well models with warmth/competence or the facets fit the data, b) whether stereotypes in higher distance education depend on the student group, and c) how the Big Two and subordinate facets predict intergroup emotions and behavioral intentions in higher distance education. An online survey with N = 626 students (74% female) of a large distance university showed that a measurement model with four facets (i.e., friendliness, morality, ability, conscientiousness) reveals adequate model fit for 12 student groups. Perceived stereotypes were positive for female students, older students, and students with children. However, migrant as well as younger students were perceived negatively. Across groups, stereotype content facets predicted intergroup emotions and behavioral intentions of facilitation or harm. Implications for the influence of negative stereotypes in higher distance education are discussed.


stereotypeshigher distance educationnon-traditional studentsstereotype content modelalignment optimizationintergroup emotions
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 12
  • DOI: 10.5334/irsp.686
  • Submitted on 31 Jan 2022
  • Accepted on 1 Jul 2022
  • Published on 3 Oct 2022
  • Peer Reviewed