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Virtue Interventions and Interracial Interactions

  • Madison Kawakami Gilbertson
  • Sarah SchnitkerEmail author
  • Evelyn R. Carter
Chapter

Abstract

Majority group members are important actors for increasing positive interracial interactions in multicultural environments. Research has demonstrated that psychological factors may hinder majority group members from greater engagement in interracial interactions (e.g., emotion dysregulation, race-based stress), so psychological interventions targeting majority group member engagement in interracial interactions are needed. Using a theory-based approach, we will examine how positive psychological interventions, specifically virtue interventions targeting White students in a U.S. context, could increase emotion regulation capabilities in response to race-based stress, alleviate threat, and result in greater engagement in interracial contact. Whereas many current standalone interventions to decrease racial prejudice are often deficit-based and have questionable efficacy (Bezrukova, Jehn, & Spell 11:207–227, 2012), a strengths-based virtue approach might be more effective in decreasing anxiety and increasing self-efficacy in interracial interactions. Drawing from the virtue literature, the chapter will discuss how patience and courage interventions are well suited to address the psychological factors that negatively affect White people in multicultural contexts and hinder overall efforts to increase interracial interactions. Hypotheses for intervention outcomes and how those outcomes may impact majority group members are described. In sum, we offer an important theoretical grounding for future research on positive psychological interventions that aim to increase White engagement in interracial interactions in multicultural environments.

Keywords

Interventions Positive psychology Virtue development Intergroup contact Patience Courage 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madison Kawakami Gilbertson
    • 1
  • Sarah Schnitker
    • 3
    Email author
  • Evelyn R. Carter
    • 2
  1. 1.Fuller Graduate School of PsychologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Paradigm Strategy Inc.San FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Baylor UniversityWacoUSA

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