RS-Race Questionnaire

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Author of Tool: 

Mendoza-Denton, R., Downey, G., Purdie, V., & Davis, A.

Key references: 

Mendoza-Denton, R., Downey, G., Purdie, V., & Davis, A. (2002). Sensitivity to race-based rejection: Implications for African-American students’ college experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 896-918.

Primary use / Purpose: 

A measure of rejection sensitivity (RS) experienced due to one’s race


A history of rejecting experiences based on status characteristics can lead to doubts about one’s acceptance by members of these social institutions (Aronson, Quinn, & Spencer, 1998; Branscombe, Schmitt, & Harvey, 1999; Crocker, Luhtanen, Broadnax, & Blaine, 1999; Goffman, 1963; Tyler, 1990; Tyler & Smith, 1998). Despite the removal of legal and other structural barriers to achieving diversity, research suggests that some members of historically excluded groups continue to experience such doubts in social institutions that have marginalized them in the past (Bowen & Bok, 1998; Frable, Blackstone, & Sherbaum, 1990; Jones, 1972/1997; Steele, 1997; Steele & Aronson, 1995; Terrell & Terrell, 1981). The RS-Race is an instrument designed to empirically examine how expectations of rejection based on membership in a stigmatized social category or status group influence people’s personal and interpersonal experiences in majority dominated social institutions. In particular, to examine whether anxious expectations of rejection based on such group membership can strain social relationships and undermine people’s confidence in the institution’s fairness and legitimacy, diminishing the motivation to persist in the pursuit of valued personal goals.The Rejection Sensitivity (RS-Race) Questionnaire was developed for African-Americans. It may not be appropriate to use it with other populations. This questionnaire includes 12 (twelve) items.


The RSQ–Race shows high internal reliability for African Americans on the basis of the 12 product scores (0.90). To assess the short-term test–retest reliability of the measure, authors had 41 African American participants from Samples 2 and 3 of their study complete the RSQ–Race for a second time 2–3 weeks after the firstassessment. This sample was similar to the total sample in age, RS–race, and RS–personal. The test–retest reliability,r(39) 0.80, p <.001, was comparable to that obtained for the RSQ–Personal over an equivalent time period (Downey & Feldman, 1996).



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Other Information: 

How to score: Each item in the RS-Race Questionnaire includes two questions.To obtain a score for each item, multiply scores on each question. The score for each question is simply the chosen number.To obtain a total score, average the scores for all the items.

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Written by:

Midss Staff

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