Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2018


Tensions towards Latino immigrants in the United States have been a growing concern. As the largest ethnic/racial and immigrant group, Latinos/Hispanics often experience discrimination from majority groups. Perceived discrimination has been linked to worse mental and health outcomes among ethnic minority groups. Measures of implicit and explicit attitudes have been used to identify positive and negative attitudes towards Latinos. Intercultural sensitivity, the ability to understand and appreciate different cultures, is theorized to be linked to implicit and explicit attitudes towards undocumented Latino immigrants. Two-hundred eighty-eight college students, 18 years of age or older (M = 21, SD = 5) completed online questionnaires and two Implicit Association Tests (IATs). Sixty-nine percent of participants identified as female. Thirty-eight percent self-identified as Mexican or Chicano, 38% identified as non-Hispanic White, and 24% as Hispanic or Spanish. Significant mean differences among ethnic and racial groups were found on total immigrant scores; IAT Immigrant and Race IAT Dscores; and perceived discrimination scores. The overall hierarchical regression models predicting implicit and explicit attitudes towards undocumented Latino immigrants were significant. Intercultural sensitivity was a significant predictor of explicit, but not implicit attitudes. Hispanics had more negative explicit attitudes than the Mexican/Chicano group. Whereas, Non-Hispanic Whites had more negative implicit attitudes. An increase in intercultural sensitivity predicted a decrease in explicit attitudes towards undocumented Latino immigrants, which suggests that it may be an important factor in understanding attitudes and behavior. However, further research with a more representative sample and methodological rigor is warranted.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Steven P. Verney

Second Committee Member

Kamilla Venner

Third Committee Member

Gabriel R. Sanchez

Fourth Committee Member

Thierry Devos




Latinos, Hispanics, Implicit Association Test, undocumented immigrants, biases, intercultural sensitivity

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