Race, ethnicity, and patterns of values

Ann Barrett, Fordham University


The principle question of this study was whether racial or ethnic classifications could be used to identify dominant values profiles descriptive of most members of the classification and distinct from the values profiles of other classifications. Cluster analysis was chosen as a data analysis method allowing respondents to be classified into groups based on the similarity of their values profiles. In this way groups of people with similar values were formed and it was possible to assess whether race or ethnicity were defining demographic features of any of these groups. Data were collected from a sample of 579 college students and 347 high school students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds using the Scale to Assess World View and a biographical survey. In both the college and high school samples five clusters were determined to be most interpretable, though the values profiles of these clusters differed somewhat in the two samples. The demographic profiles of the clusters in the two samples also differed. In the college sample the significant demographic variables that helped to identify the clusters were Ethnicity, Home Configuration, Religious Participation, Highest Education Level in the Family, Country of Birth, and Parents' Country of Birth. In the high school sample the significant demographic variables that helped to identify the clusters were Home Configuration, First Spoken Language, and Type of Home. While race did not help to distinguish the clusters based on similarity of measured values, different racial groups did vary regarding other demographic variables. There were even some consistencies across the two samples. The demographic variables that demonstrated significant racial differences in both samples were Home Configuration, Highest Education Level in the Family, Religious Participation, and overall responsiveness to demographic questions.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Barrett, Ann, "Race, ethnicity, and patterns of values" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9830590.