Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

The Racial/Ethnic Group Disadvantage Scale: A Scale for Use with Multiple Groups in Diverse Geographical Contexts

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

The Racial/Ethnic Group Disadvantage Scale: A Scale for Use with Multiple Groups in Diverse Geographical Contexts

Article excerpt

Abstract

The Racial-Ethnic Group Disadvantage Scale (REGDS) is a new brief (7-item) measure of general perceptions of racial/ethnic group disadvantage, designed for use with multiple racial/ethnic groups in diverse geographical contexts. The scale measures the extent to which individuals believe that their racial/ethnic group has lower social status, fewer economic resources, and less political power than other racial/ethnic groups in society, combined with collective experiences of discrimination, social exclusion, and negative stereotyping. We report the results of several studies conducted with international and American college students (White, Asian-, Latino-, and African-American students), and present evidence establishing the reliability and validity of the REGDS, including internal consistency, test-retest reliability, criterion (known-groups) validity, and concurrent validity.

Keywords: minority groups, prejudice, racial discrimination, cross-cultural differences, racial/ethnic populations, psychometrics, test construction

1. Introduction

Minority groups exist in almost every country in the world, including the Maoris in New Zealand, the Kurds in Iraq, the Zhuang in China, the Harijans in India, the Basque in Spain, and Blacks in South Africa (Bornman, 1999; Hutnik, 1991; McCool, Du Toit, & Petty, 2006; Tajfel, 1978; Verkuyten & Yildiz, 2006). Majority/minority group distinctions are likely to become increasingly important as international migration patterns and globalization bring more and more racial/ethnic groups into contact (Hutnik, 1991; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999; Spencer-Rodgers, Tong, & Liao, 2012). These sociological trends also highlight the importance of examining the construct of racial/ethnic group disadvantage from a cross-cultural and international perspective. Within social, counseling, and other branches of psychology, there has been burgeoning interest in the correlates of racial/ethnic group disadvantage among individuals in diverse societies (Atkinson, Morten, & Sue, 1983; Crocker, Major, & Steele, 1998; Kaiser & Wilkins, 2010; Major, Gramzow, McCoy, Levin, Schmader, & Sidanius, 2002; Phinney, 1996). Scholars have examined the psychosocial antecedents and outcomes associated with racial/ethnic group discrimination in various countries (Cross & Vandiver, 2001; Hutnik, 1991; Spencer-Rodgers et al., 2012), and have proposed numerous theoretical models of racial/ethnic minority identity development (e.g., Atkinson et al., 1983; Cross, 1991; Sellers, Smith, Shelton, Rowley, & Chavous, 1998). However, most of these theoretical models are limited to one racial/ethnic group and cannot be used in a variety of geographical contexts.

The purpose of the present research was to develop a brief measure of racial/ethnic group disadvantage for use with multiple groups in diverse geographical contexts. In the next section, we summarize previous research on the construct of racial/ethnic group disadvantage. Then, we present data on the reliability and validity of the Racial/Ethnic Group Disadvantage Scale (REGDS).

1.1 Racial/Ethnic Group Disadvantage

A number of definitions of racial/ethnic group disadvantage have been proposed by psychologists, sociologists, and other social scientists (Allport, 1954; Greene, Way, & Pähl, 2006; Hutnik, 1991; Phinney, 1991; Spencer-Rodgers et al., 2012; Tajfel, 1978). A central component of the construct concerns the political and economic position of one's group with respect to other groups in society: racial/ethnic minorities are allocated a smaller share of the political power and material resources in society, per capita, than are racial/ethnic majorities (Phinney, 1996; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999; Tajfel, 1978). A second component pertains to the many social consequences of belonging to a group that is devalued by the majority community. Racial/ethnic minorities experience significant prejudice and discrimination at the hands of a majority group (Allport, 1954; Angel & Angel, 2006; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999; Tajfel, 1978). …

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