Participation in Formal and Informal Campus Diversity Experiences: Effects on Students' Racial Democratic Beliefs

Lisa B. Spanierman*, Helen A. Neville, Hsin Ya Liao, Joseph H. Hammer, Ying Fen Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The authors examined the influence of participation in formal campus diversity experiences (e.g., courses and workshops) and interracial friendships on 2 specific democratic racial beliefs among a racially diverse sample of freshmen (N = 589). Using separate path analyses for each outcome, the authors examined the effects of diversity experiences and friendships on universal diverse orientation (UDO) and color-blind racial ideology over the course of an academic year. While controlling for sex and entrance attitudes, the authors found support across racial groups for models predicting UDO and racial color-blindness. Furthermore, participation in formal diversity experiences and interracial friendships mediated a number of the associations. The authors also tested 2 causal mediation models examining the influence of 1 racial belief at entrance on the other racial belief at follow-up (e.g., UDO at entrance on racial color-blindness at follow-up) and found that the model predicting color-blind racial ideology provided an adequate fit to the data for White, Black, and Latino/a students; participation in formal diversity experiences mediated this association among White students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-125
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • color-blind racial ideology
  • student diversity attitudes
  • universal diverse orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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