Title

THE PREDICTIVE RELATIONSHIP OF PERSONALITY, DEMOGRAPHIC, AND ACADEMIC VARIABLES TO THE AFFECTIVE RACIAL ATTITUDES OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION

Date of Completion

January 1981

Keywords

Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Despite the appearances of positive change in race relations since the urban riots of the 1960's, racism continues to be a reality in our society and on college campuses. Racial awareness programs have been introduced on campuses across the country with little evidence of resulting affective or behavioral change. In fact, the racial attitudes of college students have yet to be broadly examined. Furthermore, most research on prejudice has failed to address the multiplicity of definitions and measures of prejudice, and/or to acknowledge the complexity of the phenomena.^ The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between selected personality, demographic, and academic variables of Anglo-American university students to affective-evaluative attitudes toward successful and unsuccessful blacks. Recent research on racism indicates that the perception of blacks as either successful or unsuccessful is related to the expression of anti-black affect by educated, middle class whites who otherwise disown overt prejudice.^ The dependent variables were: affective-evaluative attitude toward successful blacks and affective-evaluative attitude toward unsuccessful blacks. The independent variables were: personality variables (belief in a just world and dogmatism), demographic variables (gender, size of hometown, parental income, father's education, and religious practice), and academic variables (semester in college and college major characteristics: hard-soft, nonlife-life, pure-applied).^ Four hundred eighty-two randomly selected undergraduates at the University of Connecticut were asked to complete a survey questionnaire made up of the Revised Just World Scale, the Short Dogmatism Scale, the Personal Attribute Inventory, and a personal data sheet. The research sample was split into two subgroups depending on whether they received Form S of the PAI soliciting reaction to a description of successful blacks or Form U with a description of unsuccessful blacks.^ Multiple regression analyses failed to demonstrate a predictive relationship between the selected variables and either negative attitude toward successful blacks or negative attitude toward unsuccessful blacks. Logarithmic models which could improve the form of the data and account for curvilinearity were unable to explain any more variance than the simple linear models. However, the mean (X) affective-evaluative attitude toward unsuccessful blacks was significantly (at the 0.001 level) more negative than the mean (X) affective-evaluative attitude toward successful blacks.^ An analysis of the results was presented which raised a number of questions regarding the effect the description of success had on the attitude measured and whether racial attitude is predictable at all. The implications for education, although tentative, were presented. Suggestions for future research were made. ^