Do Parents Matter? Examination of White College Students' Intergroup Experiences and Attitudes

Hsin Ya Liao, Lisa B. Spanierman, Alicia J. Harlow, Helen A. Neville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of the study was to examine the association between parents' attitudes towards diversity and their young adult children's intergroup experiences and attitudes. We surveyed a sample of non-Latino White, first-year university students (n = 154) and one of their parents (n = 154) at the start of the academic year; a subsample of these students (n = 87) and one of their parents (n = 87) was also surveyed again at the end of their first year. We found that, among parents who expressed greater openness to diversity, young adult children were more likely to appreciate diversity and less likely to endorse racial colorblindness. We found similar effects regarding parents' openness to diversity on students' likelihood to engage in campus diversity experiences, which subsequently increased students' diversity appreciation and decreased students' endorsement of racial colorblindness. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-212
Number of pages20
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017



  • White students
  • color-blind racial ideology
  • diversity attitudes
  • racial attitudes
  • universal-diverse orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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