Predictors of Racial Prejudice in White American Counseling Students

By Castillo, Linda G.; Conoley, Collie W. et al. | Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, January 2006 | Go to article overview

Predictors of Racial Prejudice in White American Counseling Students


Castillo, Linda G., Conoley, Collie W., King, Jennifer, Rollins, Dahl, Rivera, Saori, Veve, Mia, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development


This study extends the research on racial prejudice by combining previously identified predictors into 1 study to determine their relative importance in contributing to racial prejudice. Results revealed that White racial identity significantly predicted racial prejudice when demographic variables were controlled. Implications of reducing racial prejudice of White American counseling students are discussed.

Este estudio extiende la investigacion sobre el prejuicio racial combinando pronosticadores previamente identificados en 1 estudio para determinar su importancia relativa a contribuir al prejuicio racial. Los resultados revelaron que la identidad racial Blanca apreciablemente predijo el prejuicio racial cuando los variables demograficas son controladas. Las implicaciones para reducir el prejuicio racial de estudiantes Americano Blanco que aconsejan es discutido.

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At the beginning of the 21st century, the United States continues to struggle over issues of racial prejudice. The Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) noted that culturally competent counselors should be aware of their negative emotional reactions toward people of color and how these negative attitudes may be harmful to the counseling relationship and process (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). Therefore, counselor educators are ethically bound to infuse material related to human diversity into all courses and/or workshops that are designed to promote the development of professional counselors (American Counseling Association, 2005). Because many of today's counseling trainees are White American, it is important for counselor educators to understand the various factors that contribute to racial prejudice. Such knowledge may help counselor educators in designing interventions to promote the professional development of White counseling trainees.

Prejudice is defined as positive or negative attitudes toward an identified social group (M. Jones, 2002). According to M. Jones, attitudes toward social groups are based on three sources: cognitive, affective, and behavioral information. Prejudice represents the affective or emotional reaction to social groups. Cognitive information and behavioral tendencies are manifested through stereotypes and discrimination, respectively. For this study, racial prejudice is defined as negative attitudes about a person of color that are generalized from beliefs held about her or his racial/ethnic group.

There are few studies that have examined racial prejudice of White counseling trainees. Sodowsky, Kuo-Jackson, Richardson, and Corey's (1998) study on correlates of multicultural competencies examined racial ideology of university counseling center staff, which included counseling trainees. Sodowsky et al. found that White counselors made more racist attributions than did racial/ethnic minority counselors. Ponterotto et al. (1996) found that for White counseling trainees, multicultural awareness was significantly related to racial prejudice. Other research has found that factors such as racial identity, age, and gender are significant predictors of racial prejudice for White college students (Carter, 1990; Pope-Davis & Ottavi, 1994).

The literature proposes that there is a relationship between racial prejudice and multicultural competence (Ponterotto et al., 1996; Sodowsky et al., 1998). In order to facilitate cultural competence of White counselors, it is important to understand the various factors that contribute to racial prejudice. Thus, the purpose of this study was to combine previously identified predictors of racial prejudice to determine their relative importance in contributing to the racial prejudice of White American counseling students. The following is a brief review of the variables associated with racial prejudice that we included in this study.

A component of racial identity is a sense of racial awareness. …

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