Diminishing the Threat: Reducing Intergroup Anxiety and Prejudice in Individuals Low in Openness to Experience

2019-06-10T18:29:09Z (GMT) by Dominique Nicole Burrows
As the world continues to diversify and we begin to move towards a majority-minority America, it becomes ever critical for organizations to utilize diversity training effectively to create a more equitable work environment. This is especially true when considering the growth of Latino immigrants in the work force and how majority group members may view this as a threat to their group dominance, resulting in experiences of discrimination and prejudice towards minorities. However, research regarding the best methods to utilize to reduce prejudice against specific targeted groups has been inconclusive, and little work has been done to investigate personality characteristics as potential boundary conditions of diversity training effectiveness. Thus, the goal of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of two diversity training methods, perspective taking and imagined contact, specifically for trainees low in Openness to Experience who may be especially resistant to training. To test this over two time points (two weeks apart), we recruited White participants ( N= 471) via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, highlighted the demographic changes occurring in the modern workforce, randomly assigned them to either the perspective taking, imagined contact, or control condition, and then measured their Openness to Experience, intergroup anxiety, prejudiced attitudes and behavioral intentions towards Latino immigrants. Results revealed no significant interactions with Openness to Experience, thus resulting in its omission from the final model. Results also did not provide evidence for the training methods having a significant direct effect on the reduction of prejudice and the increase in behavioral intentions towards Latino immigrants. However, there was support found for intergroup anxiety such that it mediated the relationship between the diversity training methods and prejudiced attitudes and behavioral intentions. Exploratory analyses also revealed imagined contact to be more effective at reducing prejudice and increasing positive behavioral intentions via a reduction in intergroup anxiety compared to the perspective taking condition. Implications, future research, and limitations are discussed.