Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the foundations of prejudiced attitudes toward Mexicans held by White Americans and to investigate a means of reducing it, paying specific attention to prejudice found within a subpopulation of White Americans. The origins of American prejudice toward Mexicans are outlined using both historical and psychological explanations. An understanding of these origins leads to the notion that increased favorable contact is the best method for reducing prejudice. A field study focusing on prejudice toward Mexicans among ecclesiastical volunteers demonstrated that missionary service can be considered a means of favorable contact. Eighty-one White American Latter-day Saints were measured on their levels of prejudice toward Mexicans and the amount of favorable contact with Mexicans before and during their service assignments in the American Southwest. Results indicated that individuals reported significantly more favorable contact after six months of service and significantly less prejudice. There were no significant differences in the amount of favorable contact or levels of prejudice between individuals who were assigned to Spanish-speaking or English-speaking service assignments.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2004-02-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etdm500

Keywords

racial prejudice, ethnic prejudice, missionary work, lds, missionaries, Mexicans, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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