Dissertation - Open Access
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department / School
Robert T. Wagner
The objective of this study was to determine how the racial attitudes of freshman students were reinforced or altered by variant stereotypic messages received from differing classroom instructors. A theoretical model and an associated set of propositions and hypotheses were formulated based on symbolic interactionism, consistency and dissonance theory, and information relating processes. The following research hypothesis was generated: Groups receiving variant messages, both as to source and content, will differ in the extent of change in the attitudes of their members toward persons of the opposite race. Twenty-six null hypotheses were formulated, covering different sourse [sic]-message variation as applied to the experimental groups and the control group; namely, the attributed race of the speaker, the character of the message and the race of the students in the group. Freshman enrolled in English courses in Fall, 1979 at Shippensburg State College were assigned randomly to either the control group or experimental groups. The final sample size was 132, with 105 in the experimental groups and 27 in the control. The dependent variable was the group mean for the extent of racial attitudinal change as measured before arid after treatment by a pre-test and post-test instrument. The independent variable consisted of a taped message played to the respondent s in which two factors were altered: (1) the speaker was identified as either Black, White or not identified by a racial characteristic at all; (2) the message either favored or disfavored racial integration. Six experimental groups were each assigned one of the following independent treatments: (1) black source--pro-integration message, (2) black source--anti-integration message, (3) white source--pro-integration message, (4) white source--anti-integration message, (5) unknow source-- pro-integration message, and (6) unkown [sic] source--anti-integration message. The control group was the seventh group. It received no source-message variant but was given the cognitive-affective-behavioral pre and post-tests. The statistical techniques used were the t-test and analysis of variance. The objective of this study was to examine to what extent the attitudes of white and non-white freshmen changed toward each other during the fall semester at Shippensburg, and how these attitude changes were associated with the application or non-application of treatments that varied as to the known race of a speaker and the advocacy or opposition toward integration. Differences in observed racial attitude change were found between: 1. The group receiving an anti-integration message (regardless of attributed race of the speaker) and the control group. 2. Students receiving the pro-integration message from a white speaker and students who received a pro-integration message from an unknown source. 3. Students receiving the pro-integration message from a black speaker and the students who received anti-integration messages regardless of the attributed race of the speaker. 4. Students receiving the pro-integration message from a white speaker and the students who received an anti-integration message regardless of the attributed race of the speaker. 5. Students receiving the pro-integration message from an unknown [sic] speaker and ·the group receiving an anti-integration message from an unknown speaker. 6. Students receiving pro-integration messages and the students receiving anti-integration messages. 7. Students receiving messages from a white speaker and those ·who received messages from an unknown speaker. The study suggests: 1. There is a greater need for Blacks to be in positions of importance in the college community, in order for students to have positive racial referents. 2. Colleges should avoid presenting types of situations that promote negativisim [sic], due to the impact of negative messages. 3. There is a greater need for interracial information and experiences in order to enhance students [sic] evaluations of racial opposites.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
College freshmen -- Attitudes
South Dakota State University
Ruffin, Jr., Winfrey M., "The Effect of Source-Message-Variants on Racial Attitude Change Among College Freshmen" (1980). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5815.