Diversity exposure in preschool: Longitudinal implications for cross-race friendships and racial bias

Larissa M. Gaias, Diana E. Gal, Tashia Abry, Michelle Taylor, Kristen L. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intergroup contact among young children has implications for improving racial attitudes and social inclusion. This study examined associations between children's (N = 670) racial biases and cross-race friendships, and whether diverse people and materials in the preschool classroom predicted children's racial biases or cross-race friendships in first or third grades. Results demonstrated weak-moderate stability in racial biases and cross-race friendship across elementary school. First-grade cross-race friendship predicted lower third-grade racial bias, but not vice versa. Exposure to diverse people in preschool was associated with greater odds of having a cross-race friend in first-grade, which predicted the likelihood of having a cross-race friend and lower levels of racial bias in third grade. Diverse materials predicted lower levels of racial bias in first grade, which predicted third-grade racial bias. Results suggest that educators can promote intergroup friendships and positive attitudes by increasing children's exposure to diverse people and materials in the preschool classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Early childhood education
  • Elementary school
  • In-group bias
  • Longitudinal
  • Racial attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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