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Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Qingwen Dong

First Committee Member

Kenneth Day

Second Committee Member

R. Alan Ray

Abstract

This study examined the influence of television viewing and interpersonal contact on young adults' stereotypes towards Hispanic Americans. White American undergraduate students (N = 231) at a small private university in the western United States completed an anonymous self-administered group questionnaire. Regression analysis revealed that the Hispanic negative index is highly positively correlated with White Americans who perceive that they learn about other races from watching TV and positively correlated with White Americans who identify with many TV portrayals. Regression analysis also revealed that the Hispanic positive index is highly positively correlated with White Americans who evaluate their contact with Hispanic Americans as very pleasant and positively correlated with White Americans who talk with Hispanic Americans very often. The study shows that television viewing has a significant impact on White Americans' negative stereotypes towards Hispanic Americans when White Americans perceive that they learn about other races from watching television. Also, the contact hypothesis has strong support in this study. Talking to Hispanic Americans was found to have an impact on White Americans' positive stereotypes towards Hispanic Americans and evaluation of contact was found to have a significant impact on White Americans' positive stereotypes towards Hispanic Americans. These results suggest that television viewing and interpersonal contact may have a significant influence on stereotype development towards Hispanic Americans.

Pages

77

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