Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Kara E. Wolff
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Exploring the Relationships between White Racial Consciousness, Feminist Identity Development and Family Environment for White Undergraduate Women
Dr. Patrick H. Munley, Chair
Dr. Lonnie Duncan
Dr. Evelyn Winfield
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
Although the literature has emphasized the importance of understanding multiple aspects of collective group identity, relatively little attention has been directed toward quantitatively exploring how two or more collective group identities relate to one another. Additionally, the influence of one’s family of origin has not been explored in relationship to aspects of collective identity development, such as feminist identity development and White racial consciousness. Given the unique nature of undergraduate White women’s identities, both historically oppressed and historically oppressive, this study examines the connections between White racial consciousness and feminist identity development. Further, this study investigates how family environment related to both White racial consciousness and feminist identity development.
A sample of 394 White, undergraduate females participated in this study. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and three assessment measures: the Oklahoma Racial Attitudes Scale-Revised (ORAS-R) (Vandiver & Leach, 2005), the Feminist Identity Composite (FIC) (Fischer et. al., 2000) and the Family Environment Scale-Real Form (FES-R) (Moos & Moos, 1974, 1994, 2002). Four separate canonical correlation analyses are conducted to examine the relationships between White racial consciousness, feminist identity development and family environment. Based on the relationships described by the canonical functions considered noteworthy in the analyses, three main findings appear to emerge. First, family environments that are perceived by White undergraduate women to promote engagement with a variety of outside perspectives are related to more actively anti-racist worldviews and well-developed feminist identities; while family environments that are perceived to reflect a more insular focus (i.e. less exposure to divergent opinions) are related to more prejudicial racial attitudes and less feminist identity development. Second, the more advanced stages of feminist identity development are related to more anti-racist White racial consciousness attitudes. Third, emerging understandings of both sexism and racism appear to be related to each other. Findings and implications are discussed and suggestions made for future research.