Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Counseling Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 83 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Alex L Pieterse

Committee Members

Michael V Ellis, Anna Reiman


advocacy, allyship, anti-racism, empathy, interracial contact, Racism, Anti-racism, Empathy, White people, Social interaction

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology | Social Psychology


Racism is a pervasive form of harm which has been found to contribute to negative outcomes for both individuals and society. Toward a more just society, anti-racist activism can create safer environments, reduce structural inequities, and improve interpersonal relations. To address prejudice, many studies have examined how interracial contact reduces prejudice in White Americans; however, less research has focused on the application of these factors on White American antiracist activist behaviors. This study sought to provide further support for Intergroup Contact Theory and the influence of established mediators of empathy and intergroup anxiety on activist behaviors. Data from 384 White American adults were used to examine the associations between interracial contact, interracial anxiety, empathy, colorblind attitudes, and antiracist activism. Multivariate multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine how empathy and intergroup anxiety differentially predict prejudice, individual anti-racist activism, and collective anti-racist activism; as well as if empathy and intergroup anxiety mediate the relations between interracial contact and these outcomes. The analysis found empathy to be a central factor in anti-racist activism of White Americans, mediating the relation between interracial contact and two forms of activism: institutional and individual. Practical implications and future research directions are discussed.