Seminars & Events

1 February 2016
15:15 - 17:00
Ruppert Building, room 033

Seminar: Belle Derks – Utrecht University

Individual versus collective coping strategies among ethnic minorities in the Netherlands.


In this presentation, I focus on the individual and collective ways in which ethnic minorities in the Netherlands cope with the prejudice and discrimination they face in work and educational settings. Some ethnic minorities, i.e. those with relatively low identification, cope with identity threats by distancing themselves from their stigmatized identity, for example by Œacting Dutch¹. Results from a field experiment among Hindustani employees revealed that Hindustanis with low ethnic identification responded to discrimination primes by describing themselves with stereotypically Dutch characteristics (i.e. Œdown to earth¹) and by being negative about other Hindustanis. Other members of ethnic minority groups, i.e. those who identify strongly with their group, are better able to cope with discrimination by bolstering the value of their group rather than distancing themselves from this group. I will present results from two field studies among Muslim students and Muslim women in work settings, showing that affirmations of group identity (e.g. either through a context that respects the Islam or group affirmation exercises) allow highly identified Muslims to cope with discrimination in work and educational settings, resulting in higher well-being and motivation.


Belle Derks received her MA (2001; cum laude) and Ph.D. (2007) at Leiden University. For her dissertation (Social Identity Threat and Performance Motivation: The Interplay between Ingroup and Outgroup Domains) she received the 2007 Social Issues Dissertation Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). In 2008 she was awarded a VENI-grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for a research project entitled ‘A Neuroscience Approach to Social Identity Threat: The Role of Preconscious Processes in Motivational Withdrawal among Members of Stigmatized Groups’. In 2015 she received an NWO VIDI-grant on her proposal ‘The Queen-Bee-Phenomenon: How men and women maintain gender inequality in the workplace’.

From 2006 to 2015 Belle worked as post doc, assistant professor (2008) and associate professor (2013) at the Social and Organisational Psychology department at Leiden University. During this time she spent time at labs in Canada (Michael Inzlicht, University of Toronto) and the US (Tiffany Ito, University of Colorado at Boulder). In 2015 she was appointed professor of social and organisational psychology at Utrecht University.

BelleDerksProf. Belle Derks
PsychologySocial & Organisational Psychology
Utrecht University / More information