Role-Model-In-Chief: Understanding a Michelle Obama Effect

Christina S. Haynes, Ray Block

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-402
Number of pages38
JournalPolitics and Gender
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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