Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Greer-Medley, Tawanda


Few researchers have examined the contributing factors to racial identity development for White Americans. In order to better understand White racial identity development, the current study was designed to use Helms’s (1990) theory of White racial identity development to examine the associations between racial attitudes and status profiles of White racial identity, with particular interest in color-blind racial attitudes (i.e., the belief that race is a non-issue in modern society) and belief in a just world (i.e., the view that the world is fair and just). To gain further insight into profiles of White racial identity, additional social attitudes were included in the analyses, including social dominance orientation and internal and external motivation to avoid prejudice, as well as demographic variables. A sample of 350 White American adults recruited from Amazon’s MTurk completed measures of racial identity, racial attitudes, social desirability, and demographic information. K means cluster analyses were conducted to create five status profiles of White identity. Among all study variables, cluster group membership was primarily defined by color-blind racial attitudes, social dominance orientation, and age. Results revealed color-blind racial attitudes were the strongest variables across all five clusters, even those in which the primary racial identity status was autonomy. Belief in a just world, on the other hand, did not appear to be a prominent factor in determining cluster membership in the current study. These results pointed to implications for both research and theory on White racial identity statuses, given that participants who were autonomous were also high in color-blind racial attitudes, which is inconsistent with current conceptualizations of the autonomy ego status. The results indicated the possibility of an ego status prior to autonomy and hold implications for identifying additional statuses of White racial identity within Helms’s (1990) model. The study results hold further implications for future research in the exploration of connections between White racial identity and multicultural counseling competence.




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