Engaging with Diversity: Examining the Relationships between Undergraduate Students' Frequency of Discussions of Socio-Cultural Issues and their Understanding of Diversity and Self- Awareness
Hershey, Katherine Randon
Jones, Susan R.
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This study examined the relationships between undergraduate students' frequency of discussions of socio-cultural issues and their understanding of diversity and self-awareness. Differences in students' interaction patterns by race/ethnicity and gender were also explored. The data used in this study consisted of 48,118 undergraduate students from 52 institutions of higher education across the country, and were collected in the spring of 2006 as a part of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership. Data were analyzed using a series of hierarchical multiple regressions to investigate the contribution of discussions of socio-cultural issues in explaining variance in the outcomes, and a series of analyses of variance (ANOVA) to compare group differences by race/ethnicity and gender. Discussions of socio-cultural issues emerged as a significant predictor of variance in the outcome variables for each of the six racial/ethnic groups studied, and various racial/ethnic and gender differences emerged in frequencies of discussions. Multiracial students reported significantly higher frequencies of socio-cultural issue discussions than most other racial/ethnic groups, whereas Asian American students reported significantly lower frequencies. For Multiracial and White students, females reported significantly higher frequencies of discussions than did males, while for African American/Black students, males reported higher frequencies.