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Social Cognitive Correlates of Attitudes toward Multiculturalism for Latina/o Students. Risco, C. M., Klingaman, E. A., & Sedlacek, W. E. ABSTRACT.

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social cognitive correlates of attitudes toward multiculturalism for latina o students

Social Cognitive Correlates of Attitudes toward Multiculturalism for Latina/o Students

Risco, C. M., Klingaman, E. A., & Sedlacek, W. E.

abstract
ABSTRACT

The current paper contributes to the study of student multicultural orientation by examining the relationship of social cognitive variables and attitudes toward multiculturalism with a sample of 188 Latina/o incoming first-year students at a large, mid-Atlantic, public university. Awareness of multiple social identities and interest in social issues correlated with all four variables assessing attitudes toward multiculturalism. Four regression equations were conducted; awareness of multiple social identities was found to significantly predict attitudes toward diversity education, affirmative action support, and multicultural competencies. Perspective taking was found to predict affirmative action support and tolerance/openness to difference. These findings indicate variability in Latina/o students’ attitudes toward multiculturalism and suggest social cognitive dimensions that underlie such variability.

introduction
INTRODUCTION
  • Campus diversity provides both social and educational benefits for college students (Milem & Umbach, 2003).
  • Developing a multicultural orientation is an important developmental task for students as they prepare for an increasingly complex and diverse workforce.
  • Previous research suggests a relationship between cognitive complexity, level of cultural awareness, and multicultural thinking (Engberg, Meader, & Hurtado, 2003).
  • A limitation of this research is that students from various racial/ethnic backgrounds are aggregated into one group, or compared between groups, thus obscuring the within group variability.
current study
CURRENT STUDY
  • The current study contributes to an understanding ofstudent multicultural orientation by examining the relationship of social cognitive variables and attitudes toward multiculturalism.
  • We focus on the experiences of Latina/o students for the following reasons:
    • Current demographic shifts in the U.S. project their increased enrollment in postsecondary institutions (Fry, 2002).
    • Ethnic minority students may enter college with more experience interacting with diverse peers. These early experiences with diversity may foster the development of the cognitive dimensions that underlie positive multicultural attitudes (Engberg, Meader, & Hurtado, 2003).
method
METHOD

Participants

  • 188 Latina/o incoming first-year students at a large, mid-Atlantic, public university.
  • Gender: 57% women, 43% men
  • Nationality: 68.6% of participants self identified as other Spanish/Hispanic/Latina/o, 12.2% Puerto Rican, 10.6% Mexican, Mexican American, Chicana/o, 5.9% Cuban, 2.7% did not report
  • Religion: 57.7% Roman Catholic, 20.6% other religions, 12.9% Protestant, 8.8% Atheist/Agnostic
  • Parental Income: 35.9% high income, 33.3% middle income, 5% low income, 25.9% did not report
method6
METHOD

Procedure

  • The data were collected from the University New Student Census, a 230-item questionnaire addressing a variety of attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic variables from incoming first-year students during their summer orientation program.
  • The purpose of the survey is to attain a general understanding of the attitudes and behaviors of incoming students for both research and administrative purposes.
  • The survey contains both psychometrically developed scales and a variety of demographic items. Ninety-three percent of all incoming first-year students completed the survey. Test-retest reliability of scores from the University New Student Census is estimated at .83.
method7
METHOD

Instruments

  • Scales were selected from the Diverse Democracy Questionnaire (DDQ; Hurtado, Engberg, Ponjuan, Landreman, 2002) to asses the constructs of interest. See Table 1 for alphas from the current sample.
  • Social Cognitive Variables. Measured by four scales assessing the extent to which respondents think about social problems. Selected items from the DDQ have been grouped into the following scales in previous research: (1) Perspective Taking, (2) Awareness of Multiple Social Identities, (3) Interest in Political Issues, and (4) Interest in Social Issues.
  • Attitudes toward Multiculturalism. Measured by four scales assessing how much support respondents feel should be given to promoting diversity and multiculturalism in education. Selected items from the DDQ have been grouped into the following scales in previous research: (1) Attitude toward Diversity Education, (2) Affirmative Action Support, (3) Tolerance/Openness to Difference and (4) Multicultural Competencies.
slide8

Table 1

Summary Statistics and Intercorrelations Among Variables of Interest

Note. *p<.05, **p<.01

Note. *p<.05, **p<.01

slide9

Table 2

Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting Attitudes toward Multiculturalism.

results
RESULTS

Correlational Analyses

  • Awareness of multiple social identities correlated with all four variables assessing attitudes toward multiculturalism.
  • Interest in social issues correlated with all four variables assessing attitudes toward multiculturalism.

Regression Analyses

  • Awareness of multiple social identities was found to significantly predict attitude toward diversity education, affirmative action support, and multicultural competencies.
  • Perspective taking was found to significantly predict affirmative action support and tolerance/openness to difference.
discussion
DISCUSSION
  • Previous research has demonstrated variation within racial/ethnic groups on attitudes toward multiculturalism (Ancis, Sedlacek, & Mohr, 2000) and diversity programs and policies (Elizondo & Crosby, 2004). Findings from the current study suggest cognitive components that correlate with such variability for Latina/o students.
  • Awareness of multiple social identities was the most consistent predictor of positive multicultural attitudes. This is consistent with suggestions that students of color are predisposed to the cognitive dimensions that underlie multicultural thinking because they typically enter college having had more experience with diverse peers than their majority counterparts (Engberg, Meader, & Hurtado, 2003).
discussion12
DISCUSSION
  • Interestingly, support for affirmative action did not correlate strongly with the majority of the social cognitive variables.
  • Further research is needed to examine the potential moderating effects of ethnic identity on attitudinal outcomes. Previous research on Latina/o college students suggests variation in support for affirmative action as a function of ethnic identity (Elizondo & Crosby, 2004).
references
REFERENCES
  • Ancis, J. R., Sedlacek, W. E., & Mohr, J. J. (2000). Student perceptions of the campus cultural climate by race. Journal of Counseling and Development, 78 (2), 180-185
  • Elizondo, E., & Crosby, F. (2004). Attitudes toward affirmative action as a function of the strength of ethnic identity among latino college students. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34(9), 1773-1796.
  • Engberg, M. E., Meader, E. W., & Hurtado, S. (2003). Developing a pluralistic orientation : A comparison of ethnic minority and white college students. Paper presented at the anual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL., April.
  • Fry, R. (2002). Latinos in higer education : Many enroll, too few graduate. Washington, DC : Pew Hispanic Center.
  • Hurtado, S., Engberg, M.E., Ponjuan, L., Landreman, L. (2002). Students' precollege preparation for participation in a diverse democracy. Research in Higher Education, 43, 163-86.
  • Milem, J. F., & Umbach, P. D. (2003). The influence of precollege factors on students’ predispositions regarding diversity activities in college. Journal of College Student Development, 44, 611-624.