Do Those Who Come Here Belong Here?: Sense of Belonging and Multicultural Organization Membership in Multiracial and Monoracial Students of Color at a Predominantly White Institution
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
In college settings, sense of belonging has been linked to higher rates of academic engagement and success, persistence in college, use of campus resources, and general well-being (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Gopalan & Brady, 2020; Roeser et al., 1996; Trujillo & Tanner, 2014). Multiracial students can struggle to find a sense of belonging in multicultural organizations that are designed for monoracial students of color, especially at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) (Ozaki & Johnston, 2008). This study aimed to measure the sense of belonging among multiracial and monoracial students of color at a PWI as well as evaluate multiracial students’ experiences in and perceptions of multicultural organizations on campus that are designed for monoracial students of color. We also examined risk factors (i.e., threats to well-being) and resilience factors (i.e., ability to cope, adapt, and sustain well-being) (Yoo et al., 2016). Monoracial undergraduate students of color (n = 88) and multiracial undergraduate students (n = 61) completed this study. Participants were asked to answer demographic questions, the Racial Experience Measure (Yoo et al., 2016), and the Sense of Belonging Instrument (Hagerty & Patusky, 1995). Results indicated that multiracial students were significantly less likely to join multicultural organizations on campus. Additionally, multiracial students reported similar amounts of risk factors related to negative well-being (i.e., discrimination, perceived ambiguity) as monoracial students of color. Furthermore, multiracial students experienced significantly less of two of the resilience factors associated with ability to cope and sustain well-being (i.e., safe and affirming space, engagement, shifting expressions) than monoracial students of color. From these results we can conclude that there is a need for a space designated for multiracial students on campus so that multiracial students can feel like they belong at a PWI.
Khan, Hannah, "Do Those Who Come Here Belong Here?: Sense of Belonging and Multicultural Organization Membership in Multiracial and Monoracial Students of Color at a Predominantly White Institution" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 2041.
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