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Construals of self and group: How racial nominalism can promote adaptive intergroup outcomes for interdependent selves


Previous research has found that interdependent self-construals are related to poorer intergroup outcomes. Here we examine interdependent self-construal specifically in relation to comfort in contexts in which people are a numeric minority (i.e., outgroup comfort), and also examine the moderating roles of racial nominalism and racial essentialism. Among a racially diverse sample ( N = 577), interdependent self-construals were related to more outgroup comfort. Two dimensions of racial nominalism—humanist and sociopolitical—were established with exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Humanist, sociopolitical, and essentialist beliefs about race were examined as moderators of the interdependent self-construal and outgroup comfort relationship. Among participants of color with higher sociopolitical beliefs, and unexpectedly among participants with higher essentialist beliefs, interdependent self-construal was more positively related to outgroup comfort. Findings are discussed in relation to theory on self- and group-level construals, and in relation to the role of multicultural education for fostering sociopolitical beliefs about race.

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