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The Impact of Intergroup Suspicion on Ethnic Minorities’ Sense of Identity Compatibility and Belonging at University

  • Author(s): Espino-Perez, Kathy
  • Advisor(s): Major, Brenda
  • et al.
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Abstract

This longitudinal study examined whether individual differences in intergroup suspicion at college entry predicted a sense of belonging at the end of racial/ethnic minority students’ freshman year. More specifically, I first tested whether the quantity of interactions with Whites, vs. Latinxs, along with identity compatibility, mediated the relationship between suspicion and sense of belonging. I also tested whether the perceived quality of interactions with Whites, vs. Latinxs, along with identity compatibility, mediated the relationship between suspicion and sense of belonging. No support for the mediation model was found such that initial levels of suspicion did not indirectly predict decreased sense of belonging through either the quantity or perceived quality of interactions with Whites and decreased identity compatibility. I also tested whether the quantity and/or quality of interactions with Whites moderated the relationship between initial levels of suspicion in predicting both identity compatibility and sense of belonging. Neither the quality or quantity of interactions with Whites interacted with suspicion to predict identity compatibility or sense of belonging at the end of students’ freshman year. Though my theoretical models were not supported, results from this study pose interesting questions for future research. This research contributes to the existing literatures on cross-group friendships, cross-group interactions, and sense of belonging among racial/ethnic minority populations in college.

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This item is under embargo until October 26, 2020.