Beyond the Margins of the Model Minority: The Development and Validation of the East Asian American Situational Judgment Test

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Virginia Tech

With the onset of COVID-19 and the anti-Asian bias that has followed, there is growing importance in creating empirically valid measures of racial prejudice. In general, there has been limited research on workplace experiences for Asian Americans, despite this group being one of the fastest-growing racial minorities in the United States. Existing measures of prejudice can be susceptible to social desirability response biases, as they tend to focus on more cognitive and affective components of attitudes, rather than behavioral expectations. The goal of this study was to develop and provide initial validation for a behavior-based measure of racial prejudice called the East Asian American Situational Judgment Test (EAA-SJT). SJTs are designed to test behavioral judgments through context-based, realistic scenarios and close-ended plausible response options (Weekley & Ployhart, 2013; Whetzel et al., 2020). There has been some evidence that SJTs measuring latent constructs may produce stronger predictive accuracy of criteria compared to traditionally used, context-independent Likert scale measures (Peus et al., 2013; Teng et al., 2020). These traditional measures, often in the form of cognitive/affective survey questions around racial attitudes, can often lead to higher instances of social desirability response bias (Huddy & Feldman, 2009; Weber et al., 2014), in which participants may not answer questions truthfully due to social concerns. The themes for the EAA-SJT scenarios and response options were based on microaggression research on Asian Americans from Sue et al., (2007a), and the proposed factor structure was predicated on research from Hauenstein et al., (2014), who were the first to develop SJTs measuring latent prejudicial attitudes toward African Americans and women. To provide initial evidence for the validity of the EAA-SJT, 400 participants from a Qualtrics survey panel completed a 20-minute online survey consisting of demographics, the initial 35-item EAA-SJT, the Asian American Stereotypes scale to test for convergent validity, the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability scale to test for discriminant validity, and two locally developed criterion measures to test for criterion-related validity. Results from the exploratory factor analyses (EFAs) provided evidence for a three-factor solution of Challenging, Ambivalence, and Reinforcing microaggressions. There was promising initial validity evidence for the EAA-SJT and evidence towards the incremental validity of the EAA-SJT over existing cognitive/affective measures. Next steps include building off the EFA results from this study and conducting a confirmatory factor analysis to finalize the EAA-SJT. Overall, microaggressions and other forms of racial biases in the workplace can have implications on employee well-being, as well as mental and physical health outcomes. The availability of different types of measurement tools such as the EAA-SJT may allow researchers to better understand prejudicial attitudes towards Asian Americans.

measurement development, Asian Americans, stereotypes, situational judgment tests