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Title:The Social Context of Prejudice: Peer Group Effects on Individuals' Homophobic and Racist Attitudes
Author(s):Poteat, Paul
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Spanierman, Lisa B.
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Across two studies, the contextual and socialization effects of peer groups on group members' own homophobic and racist attitudes were examined using multilevel modeling. In Study One, group-level compositional characteristics and social climates characterized as open to diversity, hierarchy-enhancing, and authoritarian were tested as contextual and cross-level moderating effects accounting for individuals' own prejudiced attitudes. Results indicated significant within-group similarity on prejudiced attitudes, as well as distinct differences in attitudes across various peer groups. Significant contextual effects of the peer group contributed to more accurate predictions of individuals' prejudiced attitudes over and above their own attitudes on related factors. Furthermore, several cross-level moderating effects of the group climate either strengthened or weakened the extent to which individuals' own attitudes on certain factors accounted for their prejudiced attitudes. In Study Two, socializing contextual effects of the peer group were tested in predicting participants' prejudiced attitudes three months later. Results indicated that even after controlling for individuals' own previously reported prejudiced attitudes, significant socializing contextual effects were documented. This suggested that individuals do not form or maintain their prejudiced attitudes independently, and that differences in prejudiced attitudes cannot be sufficiently explained based only on personality or attitudinal individual differences, or even on individuals' own previously reported prejudiced attitudes. Rather, the ongoing effects of socialization processes within friendship groups necessitate a broader examination of the way in which individuals and groups form, maintain, or change their prejudiced attitudes over time. Combined, these findings support the argument to directly incorporate the study of young adult friendship groups into the empirical research examining the development and perpetuation of prejudiced attitudes. Overall, the continued study of friendship groups is necessary in effort to contribute to a more critical understanding of the dynamic nature of prejudice.
Issue Date:2008
Description:106 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337889
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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