Date of Degree

2-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Martin D. Ruck

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Psychology

Keywords

Adolescents, Exclusion, Intergroup Contact, internet, Social identtity, Young adults

Abstract

There is considerable research with adult samples documenting the benefits of intergroup contact, such as improved intergroup attitudes and prejudice reduction. However, developmental psychologists have only recently begun to consider the relationship between intergroup contact and evaluations of interracial exclusion in minority and majority youth. There has also been extensive research studying the social effects of the internet and its ability to influence wide audiences, but little research on the impact of online interactions on intergroup relations. The present study addresses this limitation. Using social media and various online forums to recruit and survey participants about their views of interracial exclusion in both online (internet) and offline (real-world) settings, data were collected from 151 adolescents and young adults ranging in age from 13 - 21 years. Participants were presented with scenarios depicting interracial peer exclusion occurring in both offline and online settings (e.g., playing soccer and playing online games) and asked to respond to an online survey composed of open-ended and scale questions to evaluate each scenario. Findings indicated that participants evaluated race-based exclusion as wrong in both the offline and online scenarios. Novel findings were significant interactions between intergroup contact and social identity for attribution of motives, evaluations of interracial exclusion, explanations and frequency estimates for interracial exclusion. These results illustrate the importance of online interactions to intergroup contact and social identity as well as the complexity of online relationships with respect to evaluations and judgments about interracial peer exclusion.

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