INTERGROUP PLURALISTIC IGNORANCE: FEAR OF REJECTION AMONG INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC STUDENTS
Robertson, Daniel William
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International student enrolment is increasing worldwide. While both international and domestic students stand to benefit from greater levels of contact these groups seem to have difficulties integrating. One barrier to contact in this context may be due to intergroup pluralistic ignorance whereby both groups express interest in contact but fear rejection, while believing it is the outgroup that is disinterested. In Study 1, international students reported being more interested in domestic student friends than they felt domestic students were interested in them. Domestic students, on the other hand, perceived international students’ level of interest in friendship to match their own level of interest. In response to a vignette of an intergroup scenario, there was a significant statistical interaction for both groups whereby participants perceived their own behaviour as resulting from fears of rejection while assuming that the outgroup’s behaviour was more due to lack of interest. Additional analyses revealed that national identity for both groups of students was related to wanting more ingroup friends and, in the case of domestic students, stronger Canadian identity was related to wanting less international friends. Multicultural attitudes were the strongest predictor for domestic students wanting to have more international student friends. Study 2 investigated fear of rejection by showing photographs of an outgroup member paired with either another outgroup member or with an ingroup member. In one condition, the outgroup member was racially ambiguous whereas in the other condition the outgroup member had more ostensible racial features. All students expressed more interest in the outgroup person than they believed the outgroup person would have in them, and this effect was amplified when race was salient. Rejection concerns were greater when the photograph showed two outgroup members in the racially ambiguous conditions only. A number of the effects found were qualified by interactions of ethnicity and gender. For domestic students, the strongest negative predictor of rejection concerns was multicultural attitudes. Explanations for the partial replication of the findings of previous research are discussed. Overall, the results suggest that pluralistic ignorance is present in the meta-perceptions of students. Increasing multicultural engagement would be beneficial for both groups, and these interventions should be facilitated by post-secondary institutions.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeTeucher, Ulrich; Lawson, Karen; Somerville, Kara
Copyright DateJune 2020