Regular Articles

American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 239-257

First online:

An Intergroup Contact-Theory Framework for Evaluating Racial Climate on Predominantly White College Campuses

  • Tabbye M. ChavousAffiliated withSchool of Education, Educational Studies, Combined Program in Education and Psychology, University of MichiganUniversity of Michigan, School of Education Email author 

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This study examined the association of racial climate to social integration outcomes among 215 African American students and 144 White students from a predominantly White university. Presented is preliminary evidence regarding the utility of an ecological approach based on Allport's (1954) intergroup contact theory in examining students' climate perceptions and their impact. Responses to a racial climate scale previously used in secondary settings were collected from participants, and, through factor analysis, a revised scale was developed. The revised scale showed evidence for five subscales assessing perceived intergroup interactions on campus at individual and institutional levels, as well as individuals' personal intergroup interactions. Group differences were found for the subscales and in relationships between subscales and college integration outcomes. Findings suggest the importance of understanding college climate at interpersonal and institutional levels and of assessing impact for both majority and minority students.


college students racial climate intergroup contact