This study examined how meritocracy beliefs may buffer women from the negative psychological effects of an acute situation of gender discrimination. Although some research indirectly suggests that believing that meritocracy exists may increase wellbeing, group consciousness theories suggest that disbelieving that meritocracy exists will enhance psychological adjustment to gender discrimination. Women who reported little past experience with discrimination, and either believed or disbelieved that meritocracy exists, were exposed to either a laboratory situation of discrimination or a nondiscrimination failure (control) condition. Consistent with group consciousness theories, women experiencing discrimination reported greater well-being if they disbelieved that meritocracy exists than if they were believers. In contrast, women in the control condition reported greater wellbeing if they believed that meritocracy exists than if they were disbelievers. Implications for coping with discrimination are discussed.