Because of the national conversation about her status as a role model, the former First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) presents an opportunity to analyze an Obama effect - particularly, the idea that Michelle Obama's prominence as a political figure can influence, among other things, citizens' impressions of black women in America. Using evidence from the 2011 Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post survey, we demonstrate that Michelle Obama's status as a role model operates as a moderated mediator: it transmits the effect of the former FLOTUS' media activities to respondents' racial attitudes, and the degree to which role model status functions as a mediating variable differs by race (and, to a lesser degree, by gender). Thus, our research provides both a theoretical and an empirical contribution to the Obama-effect literature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science