Race and Gender Differences in Regulatory Focus: Examining Measurement Invariance

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We investigated race and gender differences in regulatory focus, which distinguishes between two modes of motivational regulation: promotion and prevention focus. Item response theory was used to examine measurement equivalence/invariance and mean differences across groups were examined. Several items functioned differently across groups, but differences cancelled out at the test-level. Analyses using an undergraduate student sample (N = 1,845) revealed that females were significantly more promotion and prevention focused than males and African Americans were significantly more promotion and prevention focused than Caucasians. Interestingly, both gender and racial minority groups scored higher on regulatory focus indicators than the majority groups. Arguably, unlike minority group members, majority group members would have less of a necessity to prevent failure or to promote their own success. Implications for these motivation regulation differences can be applied to workforce settings in which managers seek to provide equal opportunities for both genders and racial groups.


St. Louis, MO

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