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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jay Jackson


Department of Psychology


According to social identity theory, intergroup attitudes are partly determined by the salience of group identification. Group conflict theory proposes that intergroup attitudes are largely determined by perceptions of goal incompatibilities. We integrated these perspectives and predicted that the relationship between ethnic identity and prejudice will be stronger for majority-group members than minority-group members. Our rationale is that identification with a minority group is determined by several factors, while identification with a majority group has fewer determinants, with perceived conflict being one. We therefore also predicted that group identity will mediate the relationship between perceived conflict and prejudice for majority group members, but not for minority group members. To test our predictions, we asked a sample of White Americans (N=101), African Americans (N=98), and Asian Americans (N=66) from a mid-western university to complete a survey. The survey included established measures of ethnic identity, interethnic conflict and ethnic prejudice (presentation counterbalanced). The data were analyzed to test hypothesized conditional indirect effects, moderation effects, and mediated moderation effects. As predicted the results showed that the relationship between ethnic identity and ethnic prejudice was moderated by group status, B = .454, p = .001. Furthermore, as predicted, the relationship was positive for White Americans (B = .382 with African Americans as outgroup, and B = .244 with Asian Americans as outgroup, both p < .001), but negative for Asian Americans (B = - .071 African Americans outgroup, and B = - .124 White Americans outgroup, neither significant), and for African Americans (B = -.117 Asian Americans outgroup, and B = - .110 White Americans outgroup, neither significant). We also found that the relationship between perceived conflict and prejudice was significantly mediated by ethnic identity for Whites (B = .022 Asian Americans outgroup, and B = .026 African Americans outgroup), but not for African Americans or Asian Americans, regardless of outgroup. The results support our main propositions that the relationship between group identity and prejudice is moderated by socio-structural variables, and that perceived intergroup conflict and group identity are more strongly associated with each other among majority group members than minority group members. Our findings are discussed in relation to theories of ethnic identity and intergroup relations, and recent studies on the effects of negative interethnic experiences.



Interethnic Prejudice as a Function of Identity and Perceived Conflict

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