Date of Award

8-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

DiLalla, Lisabeth

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine parent (e.g., exposure to diversity) and child factors (e.g., age, anxiety and prosocial behavior) as they relate to the transmission of messages related to race and culture. An exploratory hypothesis was that Black parents would exhibit more cultural socialization, preparation for bias, and promotion of mistrust than White parents. In addition, there were hypotheses that the messages that parents impart to their children about race would be influenced by the age of the child or parents’ experience with diverse groups of people. Online questionnaires were distributed to parents and the final sample consisted of 183 parents of Black children (N = 90) and White children (N = 93), aged four to fourteen years old (M = 8.08). Overall, this study found that Black parents engage in more conversations about race and culture than White parents. However, there were no racial differences between number of messages of equality. The hypothesis that the frequency of preparation for bias messages increases as children get older was supported. The hypothesis that Black children who have higher scores on dimensions of racial socialization would have higher levels of prosocial behavior was supported. The hypothesis that the affective valence of exposure to diverse groups of people would be positively related to egalitarianism was supported. The present study adds to the current literature by highlighting that different messages about race and culture need to be communicated for children in the majority culture versus minority culture.

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