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Title:Exploring the associations between racial identity attitudes and social justice outcomes in African American college students: a mixed methods investigation
Author(s):Whittaker, Valene
Director of Research:Neville, Helen A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Neville, Helen A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Greene, Jennifer C.; Hunter, Carla D.; Spanierman, Lisa B.
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Black Racial Identity
Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS)
Cluster Analysis
African Americans
Social Justice
Mixed Methods
Counseling Psychology
Black Psychology
Abstract:Recent quantitative research provides empirical support for the relation between racial identity attitudes and a range of sociocultural and psychological outcomes; however, there is a paucity of research examining these associations using qualitative and mixed methods approaches (Lyons, Bike, Johnson, & Bethea, 2012). Using an integrated, sequential, explanatory mixed methods design, the present study employed cluster analysis and online interviewing methods to examine the relation between patterns of racial identity attitudes and sociopolitical engagement in a sample of 219 Black American college students. Racial identity attitudes were operationalized using the Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS; Vandiver, Cross, Fhagen-Smith, Worrell, Swim, & Caldwell, 2000; Worrell, Vandiver, & Cross, 2004), and the sociopolitical engagement outcomes assessed included participants’ views on effectiveness and extent of use of strategies for reducing racism, and participants’ willingness to engage in social action. Results from the k-means cluster analysis indicated a six-cluster solution (Multiculturalist/Intense Black Involvement, Multiculturalist/Miseducated, Assimilated, Low-Salience/Unaware, Identity in Transition/Immersion, and Identity in Transition/Self-Hatred) that is consistent with cluster patterns identified in previous research. In addition, differential associations between cluster groups and activist orientation were found, where participants in the Multiculturalist/Intense Black Involvement cluster reported a higher degree of willingness to engage in social action, while those in the Low-Salience/Unaware cluster group reported the lowest levels. A sub-sample of students (n = 5) from the Multiculturalist/Intense Black Involvement cluster were interviewed regarding their racial identity narratives and their understanding of and involvement with sociopolitical issues; the sub-sample was purposefully selected based on findings from the extant literature (Watts, 1992; Lott, 2008). Three broad thematic categories emerged related to students’ understanding of their Blackness and engagement with racial injustice: Environment and early awareness of race and injustice, Defining Blackness, and Means to dismantling institutional oppression. Thematic findings were then integrated with quantitative results to explore convergence and divergence of mixed methods findings. Mixed methods analyses revealed that these themes were consistent with quantitative findings, in that students who identified race as a salient identity also identified conventional strategies for engaging in social activism to address institutional forms of injustice. The implications for these findings on future research are discussed.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Valene A. Whittaker
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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