Date of Award

8-1-2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Greer-Medley, Tawanda

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF MORGAN B. CHRISTIE, for the MASTER OF ARTS degree in PSYCHOLOGY, presented on MAY 1, 2018, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: THE EFFECTS OF RACIAL SOCIALIZATION ON RACIAL ATTITUDES AND RACIAL IDENTITY STATUSES FOR WHITE AMERICANS MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Tawanda M. Greer-Medley Racial socialization is an important process that parents engage in with their children. Much of the current research on racial socialization focuses on how this process occurs for people of color. Little is known about the racial socialization processes of White Americans. The current study was designed to address this gap in the literature. The purpose of this study is to test racial socialization as a predictor of racial attitudes and White racial identity statuses among White Americans. It is hypothesized that racial socialization will significantly predict racial attitudes and White racial identity attitudes, respectively. More specifically, it is hypothesized that individuals who engage in more meaningful racial socialization with their parents will have lower levels of social dominance orientation (SDO) and lower levels of color-blind racial attitudes (CoBRA) than individuals who do not engage in racial socialization with their parents. It is also hypothesized that individuals who engage in more meaningful racial socialization with their parents will have achieved higher levels of White racial identity statuses than those who do not engage in racial socialization with their parents. To test the study hypotheses, the current study was conducted in two parts. In Study 1, a measure of perceived ethnic-racial socialization (Hughes & Johnson, 2001) was validated for use with a White sample. In Study 2, participants completed measures of (a) perceived ethnic-racial socialization for both parents and peers (Hughes & Johnson, 2001); (b) social dominance orientation (Ho et al., 2015); (c) color-blind racial attitudes (Neville, Lilly, Lee, Duran, and Browne, 2000); and (d) White racial identity statuses (Helms & Carter, 1990) in order to test the main study hypotheses. In Study 1, Confirmatory Factor Analysis was used to determine the fit of the perceived racial-ethnic socialization measure to the sample and appropriateness of the addition of four items to the measure. The measure was found to be both valid and reliable with the current sample. In Study 2, hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the predictive relationships of parent and peer socialization with racial attitudes and White racial identity statuses. Results from the regression analyses indicated that parent socialization experiences significantly predicted color-blind racial attitudes, as well as the disintegration and reintegration statuses of White racial identity, in a positive direction. Peer socialization, on the other hand, significantly predicted color-blind racial attitudes, as well as the disintegration and reintegration statuses of White racial identity, in a negative direction. These findings suggest that parent and peer socialization experiences are important in the formation of certain racial attitudes and in the achievement of certain White racial identity statuses, but that other factors may be impacting the development of racial attitudes and racial identity for White American adults. Although the main study hypotheses were not fully supported in the current study, the findings of the study are useful in providing insight into the racial socialization experiences of White Americans and hold implications both for future research of White racial socialization and for the counseling process.

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