Faculty Mentor: Julie Hughes
Student: Iris Chiu
U.S. society becomes more ethnically diverse every year, making individual experiences of interracial anxiety increasingly common. This summer Dr. Hughes and her student collaborator, Iris Chiu, have researched interracial anxiety and its antecedents. These antecedents of anxiety include: internal and external motivations to respond without prejudice (IMS and EMS; i.e., feeling personally motivated and socially motivated not to show prejudice) as well as ethnic perspective-taking ability (EPTA). According to Quintana’s EPTA model (1994), from childhood into adulthood individuals develop through five levels of ethnic perspective-taking, at each level becoming more refined and fluid in intercultural understanding. Hughes and Chiu posited that at different levels of EPTA, people would perceive interethnic interactions with more or less anxiety. Hughes and Chiu also predicted that interethnic anxiety would be highest among those with lower IMS and higher EMS. Data collection was online with adult participants from across the U.S. Results indicated that EPTA was not associated with interethnic anxiety. Perhaps EPTA is less important than individuals’ perceptions of their intercultural understanding. Hughes and Chiu also found that a combination of high EMS and low IMS predicted the highest level of anxiety. This project is an important venture for the Prejudice and Development Lab, as the lab is looking to conduct interviews with children and adolescents in the Princeton and Trenton area in the future regarding their experiences with interethnic anxiety. Hughes and Chiu plan to submit a research manuscript summarizing these findings to a peer-reviewed journal and to present the findings next spring at the Eastern Psychological Association conference.