Intergroup Attitudes among Ethnic Minority Adolescents: A Causal Model Author(s): Jean S. Phinney, Debra L. Ferguson and Jerry D. Tate Source: Child Development , Oct., 1997, Vol. 68, No. 5 (Oct., 1997), pp. 955-969 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development Stable URL: REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: reference#references_tab_contents You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Society for Research in Child Development and Wiley are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Child Development This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Oct 2023 23:04:57 +00:00 All use subject to
Child Development, October 1997, Volume 68, Number 5, Pages 955-969 Intergroup Attitudes among Ethnic Minority Adolescents: A Causal Model Jean S. Phinney, Debra L. Ferguson, and Jerry D. Tate To examine the influence of ethnic identity and intergroup contact on adolescents' attitud ethnic groups, we studied eighth and eleventh graders from 2 predominantly non-White sch veys completed by 547 adolescents from 3 ethnic groups (133 African Americans, 219 Latino Americans) assessed in-group and out-group attitudes, out-group interaction, out-group cont identity. A causal model suggested 2 pathways leading to positive out-group attitudes. In one identity increased with age and predicted positive in-group attitudes; these attitudes contrib out-group attitudes. In a separate pathway, ethnic diversity outside of school led to more out- in school, which in turn predicted positive out-group attitudes. The results support developm culturalism views of intergroup relations. INTRODUCTION Intergroup relations among adolescents from dif- fering ethnic backgrounds are the result of complex interactions among many factors-developmental, social, and contextual. Theoretical explanations of in- tergroup relations have come mainly from social psy- chologists (Messick & Mackie, 1989), and work in this tradition provides an important base for understand- ing intergroup processes. However, this research has typically been carried out with college students or adults and has not considered socialization processes that may influence intergroup attitudes in children and adolescents. Furthermore, such research has gen- erally used experimental paradigms which, while allowing for careful control of extraneous variables, eliminate many factors that influence intergroup rela- tions in real-world settings. To understand in- tergroup relations among adolescents growing up in the ethnically diverse environments typical of most urban areas of the United States, it is necessary to consider both developmental and social psychologi- cal processes likely to influence intergroup relation- ships. The purpose of the present study was to identify factors that account for differences in intergroup atti- tudes among adolescents in ethnically diverse set- tings and to develop a model to predict attitudes toward other ethnic groups. To examine devel- opmental differences, the study included eighth- and eleventh-grade students in two different school districts serving predominantly non-White stu- dents. As background for the study we discuss a number of factors that have been suggested to ex- plain intergroup attitudes. We examine the literature on in-group and out-group attitudes among children and adolescents, consider the role of contact with other groups as an influence on such attitudes, and discuss additional factors that may influence in- tergroup attitudes among adolescents in ethnically diverse settings. We conclude by introducing a model to predict out-group attitudes, based on the literature reviewed. Attitudes toward One's Own Group and toward Other Groups The relation between in-group and out-group atti- tudes has been examined by psychologists from a va- riety of research traditions, using differing theoretical models, research methods, and measures of the key constructs. Within developmental psychology, much of the research has focused on the attitudes of young Black children toward their own racial group and to- ward Whites. The early work of Clark and Clark (1947), showing that Black children preferred White dolls, has been replicated in more recent work with young children (Powell-Thompson & Hopson, 1992). These results can be interpreted with reference to Tajfel and Turner's (1986) Social Identity Theory. Research based on Social Identity Theory has shown that in most situations people hold more positive atti- tudes toward their own group than toward other groups, that is, they demonstrate in-group bias (Hin- kle & Brown, 1990; Messick & Mackie, 1989). How- ever, groups with lower status may show preference @ 1997 by the Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved. 0009-3920/97/6805-0016$01.00 This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Oct 2023 23:04:57 +00:00 All use subject to
956 Child Development for higher-status out-groups (Tajfel, 1978). This the- ory is the basis of a recent experimental study by Yee and Brown (1992), in which children aged 3, 5, 7, and 9 years were assigned to teams, and team status was manipulated to be high or low. Before the manipula- tion, children in every age group showed a prefer- ence for their own team, that is, in-group bias. How- ever, when some teams were shown to be of lower status (i.e., losing a race), most children on a "slow" team chose to change to a "fast" team. Thus, when their group was seen in an unfavorable light, these children showed out-group bias. By implication, mi- nority children whose ethnic group is negatively ste- reotyped may be subject to out-group bias. In addi- tion to research with children, there is evidence that some minority adolescents hold out-group biases, ex- pressed as a preference for "being White" (Phinney, 1989). However, out-group bias appears to change with development. Although some minority children may hold negative in-group attitudes, these attitudes are likely to decline during adolescence. As part of the identity formation process described by Erikson (1968), ethnic youth explore the meaning and impli- cations of their ethnic or racial group membership (Cross, 1991; Helms, 1990; Phinney, 1989, 1990, 1993). During this period of exploration of, or immersion in, their culture, adolescents' attitudes toward their own and other groups may be ambivalent and unsta- ble. But eventually this period gives way to a secure and committed sense of self as a group member. This secure sense of self has been termed an achieved eth- nic identity and is associated with positive attitudes toward one's own group (Atkinson, Morten, & Sue, 1993; Cross, 1991; Phinney, 1993; Phinney & Chavira, 1992). In the present study, we used a measure of eth- nic identity (Phinney, 1992) that includes items as- sessing ethnic identity achievement (exploration and commitment) as well as attitudes toward one's group. On the basis of the developmental research, we expected that older (eleventh-grade) students would have a stronger ethnic identity than younger (eighth-grade) students and, as a corollary, more pos- itive in-group attitudes. Furthermore, contextual variables influence out- group attitudes. Much of the research outside of the laboratory has focused on the Black-White relations, usually in settings where Blacks are a subordinate group (Schofield, 1986). In the present study, we used schools in which the student body consisted primar- ily of two minority groups in approximately equal numbers, to minimize the effects of status differential based either on the proportion of one's group in the setting or on the generally higher status of White par- ticipants. Therefore, there was little reason to expect participants to prefer another group over their own. A question that remains unclear, however, is the relation between in-group and out-group attitudes. The literature presents contrasting views of this rela- tion. Early studies of ethnocentrism with adults sug- gested that more positive in-group attitudes were re- lated to more negative out-group attitudes. Levinson (1950) found a strong negative relation between pa- triotism and attitudes toward foreigners. This view has received some support in a recent study with Dutch adolescents (Masson & Verkuyten, 1993), which found that positive evaluation of one's own ethnicity was strongly correlated with prejudice to- ward people who were foreign or different from one- self. A second view, from social psychology, holds that the existence of in-group bias does not necessarily mean that there is a negative relation between these attitudes (Messick & Mackie, 1989; Tajfel & Turner, 1986). On the basis of a review of a large number of studies of intergroup attitudes, Hinkle and Brown (1990) reported that in-group and out-group atti- tudes may be positively or negatively related or unre- lated depending on the conditions. They note, fur- ther, that much of the research on this topic is based on homogeneous samples in laboratory settings, and findings may not apply to settings outside the labora- tory. A third view, that in-group and out-group atti- tudes are positively related, is supported by both de- velopmental and multiculturalism approaches. The developmental view (Cross, 1991; Helms, 1990; Phin- ney, 1989, 1993) holds that a more secure ethnic or racial identity is associated with greater acceptance of other groups. As individuals become more confi- dent of their own group membership, they are as- sumed to be more open to other groups. The multi- culturalism hypothesis (Berry, 1984) and research based on this hypothesis (Berry, 1984; Berry, Kalin, & Taylor, 1977; Lambert, Mermigis, & Taylor, 1986) also indicate that individuals with a positive and secure sense of their own culture will have positive attitudes toward other groups. In research with adults in Can- ada, Berry et al. (1977) found that those ethnic groups with a more secure group identity had more positive intergroup attitudes. Lambert et al. (1986) found that cultural security correlated strongly with favorable attributions of other groups. In the present study, on the basis of both multicul- turalism and developmental views, we expected that adolescents with higher ethnic identity scores, indica- This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Oct 2023 23:04:57 +00:00 All use subject to
Uploaded by BrigadierWhaleMaster1020 on