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Open Access Publications from the University of California

White identity and intergroup attitudes: A meta-analysis and review

  • Author(s): Goren, Matt J.
  • Advisor(s): Plaut, Victoria C.
  • et al.

Despite growing social scientific interest in White racial identification, how White identity predicts intergroup attitudes remains unclear. Across the literature, results are ambiguous and often contradictory. Some researchers have found that White identity predicts more positive intergroup attitudes while others have found that it predicts more negative intergroup attitudes. Others still have found no relationship or a relationship only when the White in-group is threatened. We hypothesize that these conflicting results may be due to differences in how White identity is conceptualized and to differences among Whites' interracial contact. In the metaanalysis, we examined the relationship between multiple measures of White identity and a variety of intergroup attitudes. In general, White identity weakly but significantly predicted more negative intergroup attitudes. We further explored this finding by testing for moderation by multiple forms of methodological bias as well as multiple proxies for positive and negative interracial contact. We found some evidence of publication bias as well as a moderating effect of experience with interracial contact such that White identity predicted relatively more positive intergroup attitudes for Whites who tended to have positive interracial contact. In our discussion, we integrate the results with racial identity theories to help disambiguate the relationship between White identity and intergroup attitudes.

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