Psychosocial Costs of Racism to Whites: Understanding Patterns Among University Students

Lisa B. Spanierman, Nathan R. Todd, Carolyn J. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This investigation adds to the growing body of scholarship on the psychosocial costs of racism to Whites (PCRW), which refer to consequences of being in the dominant position in an unjust, hierarchical system of societal racism. Extending research that identified 5 distinct constellations of costs of racism (L. B. Spanierman, V. P. Poteat, A. M. Beer, & P. I. Armstrong, 2006), the authors used multinomial logistic regression in the current study to examine what factors related to membership in 1 of the 5 PCRW types during the course of an academic year. Among a sample of White university freshmen (n = 287), the authors found that (a) diversity attitudes (i.e., universal diverse orientation and unawareness of privilege) explained PCRW type at entrance, (b) PCRW type at entrance explained participation in interracial friendships at the end of the year, (c) 45% of participants changed PCRW type during the course of the year, and (d) among those who changed type, particular PCRW types at entrance resulted in greater likelihood of membership in particular PCRW types at the end of the year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • costs of racism to Whites
  • racial empathy
  • White guilt
  • White racial attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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