Effects of a prejudice reduction program utilizing creative movement on the racial/ethnic attitudes and identity of adolescents

Beth Miriam Millstein, Fordham University


This study investigated the use of a creative movement program designed to reduce prejudicial attitudes and enhance the racial/ethnic identities of students in a school for pregnant teenagers. The dependent variables were attitudes toward outgroups, attitudes toward ingroup, other-group orientation, and racial/ethnic identity. The independent variables were treatment condition and racial/ethnic group. Students in both the intervention and control groups were sensitized to racial/ethnic issues by participating in a single 40-minute lesson on the history of tolerance in the United States. The lesson involved viewing a film on the subject and subsequent discussion. Students in the intervention group participated in five 40-minute sessions utilizing creative movement activities and related discussion to address racial/ethnic issues. Session themes included racism, prejudice, stereotyping, racial/ethnic identity, working with and working against, cultural appreciation, and dealing with emotions triggered by racial/ethnic issues. Quantitative results of the study indicated that students exposed to the race-related curriculum material plus the creative movement intervention program did not differ in terms of their racial/ethnic attitudes and identity from students exposed to the race-related curriculum material only. Explanations offered for the lack of significant findings included poor reliability and sensitivity of the instruments, poor power levels, and inadequate length of the intervention program. Although quantitative analysis did not reveal significant effects, qualitative observations supported the notion that the intervention program increased participants' awareness of and ability to express their racial/ethnic attitudes, and their negative attitudes in particular. This was viewed as congruent with racial/ethnic identity literature that posits that as individuals progress toward positive racial/ethnic identities they pass through a phase of increased negativism toward outgroups. Further research was recommended to investigate these qualitative observations and account for some of the limitations of the study.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Dance|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Millstein, Beth Miriam, "Effects of a prejudice reduction program utilizing creative movement on the racial/ethnic attitudes and identity of adolescents" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9839527.