Intergroup Dialogue in Undergraduate Multicultural Psychology Education: Group Climate Development and Outcomes

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Abstract

We examined group climate and outcomes in 19 intergroup dialogues (IGD) focused on gender, race and ethnicity, religion and spirituality, sexual orientation, or social class at a large, public university. Group members completed pre- and postdialogue outcome measures of colorblind racial attitudes, ethnocultural empathy, and attitudes toward diversity. Following each weekly session, participants also completed a group climate measure assessing engagement, avoidance, and conflict. Across 8 weeks, group members’ perceptions of engagement significantly increased and their perceptions of avoidance significantly decreased; however, there were no significant changes in perceptions of conflict. In addition, we found significant pre- to postdialogue decreases in 2 aspects of colorblind racial attitudes: blindness to racial privilege (RP) and blindness to institutional discrimination (ID), and significant increases in empathic perspective taking (EPT). Finally, change in individual group members’ perceptions of group engagement over time predicted postdialogue RP, ID, and EPT, when controlling for predialogue scores on the same variables. These findings are discussed in relationship to the critical-dialogic model of IGD, and implications for research and practice are explored.

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