Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

Counselor Education

First Advisor

Kathy M Evans

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to test Gordon Allport's theory of Contact Hypothesis about cultural attitude change in college students. Participants were college First year students participating in First year seminar classes in a small southeastern liberal arts university. The treatment group of randomly selected First year seminar classes was exposed to a one-week seminar designed to address the issue of cultural diversity. A non-treatment group received the standard instruction on this issue. The content of the seminar included exposure to multicultural issues that include Allport's most important tenants for changing prejudicial attitudes. For this study components of Allport's Contact Hypothesis was measured using the Quick Discrimination Index designed to assess attitudinal shifts towards racial equality. The QDI was administered early in the semester prior to the one week seminar being introduced and again at the end of the semester. Scores on the QDI are divided into three factors: 1) cognitive attitudes toward racial diversity, 2) affective and personal attitudes as they relate to racial contact, and 3) general attitudes regarding gender equity issues. Pre and post scores were compared and used to address the following questions: 1) Will the one week workshop produce increased levels of cultural openness in the direction predicted by four major tenants of Allport's Contact Hypothesis? 2) Do QDI factor scores differ for augmented treatment versus standard treatment groups? 3) Does an interaction effect exist on post QDI factor scores for students living on campus compared to students who live off campus; between Students of European descent and Students of color; and between genders? A dramatic result occurred in which all female QDI affect factor scores decreased while all male QDI affect factor scores increased. Only one of the QDI factor scores showed a significant decrease in cultural openness. Females Students of European Descent living off campus experiencing the augmented treatment had a significant decrease in cultural openness in the affective measure.

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