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Title: Building, Betraying, and Buffering Trust in Interracial and Same-Race Friendships
Authors: Bergsieker, Hilary Burbank
Advisors: Shelton, Josette N.
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: Betrayal
Intergroup relations
Interracial interactions
Subjects: Social psychology
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Trust is theorized to be essential for close relationship functioning, and close friendships hold special promise for improving intergroup relations. This dissertation examines how trust (not mere liking) is attained, maintained, and regained between Black and White individuals as a function of closeness (inclusion of other in the self) in friendship contexts. Trust placed in outgroup (vs. same-race) friends is hypothesized to be shallower, asymmetric, and more vulnerable to disruption. In Study 1, a dyadic investigation over time, White and Black students who described interracial (vs. same-race) friendships initially reported less trust, closeness, stimulating companionship, reliable alliance, self-disclosure, perceived other disclosure, perceived help/support, and perceived understanding, followed by less perceived other disclosure and less contact a year later. Participants' initial trust and closeness (not liking) mediated these effects. Initial trust predicted fewer subsequent friend betrayals and greater closeness to an outgroup friend's racial group one year later. In Studies 2a and 2b, White and Black participants imagined a White or Black friend engaging in relational behaviors over time, sometimes including a betrayal. Black participants reported less cultural trust (not liking) after imagining a betrayal by a White (vs. Black) friend. No cultural trust gap emerged for White participants, or for Black participants who were high in subjective closeness or not betrayed. In Study 3, White and Black strangers completed either control or friendship-inducing closeness tasks in dyads before a prisoner's dilemma game that sometimes simulated a partner defection. After partner defections, Black participants reported lower trust (not liking) for White than Black partners, an effect partially mediated by negative other-directed affect, in the control condition. Black participants in the closeness condition and no-betrayal condition trusted White and Black partners equally, as did White participants. These studies (a) suggest that Black individuals trust ingroup more than outgroup individuals, particularly after betrayals, except when subjective closeness is high, and (b) underscore the centrality of trust (not liking) and closeness for successful interracial friendships.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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