Multicultural Competence Building Blocks: Multicultural Psychology Courses Promote Multicultural Knowledge and Ethnic Identity

Publication Date

Summer 7-16-2021


Background: Literature on undergraduate multicultural psychology instruction is limited. Prior research has included primarily White samples, yielded mixed results, and largely ignored assessment of learning in skills-based domains such as ethnic identity development.

Objective: We aimed to replicate and extend prior research by examining growth in multicultural knowledge and ethnic identity among students in multicultural psychology courses and considering possible moderators of this growth. Method: Multicultural knowledge and ethnic identity were measured before and after the semester among 169 undergraduate students enrolled in multicultural psychology courses.

Results: Multicultural knowledge and ethnic identity significantly increased from before to after, but important moderators also emerged. Knowledge increase was greater among White students, while ethnic identity increased the most among White students with no multicultural experience in courses employing small-group, online discussions.

Conclusion: Our findings replicate prior research by showing that multicultural courses can effectively promote multicultural knowledge and extend our understanding by demonstrating that other aspects of competence such as ethnic identity can also increase among students of these courses.

Teaching Implications: The benefits of multicultural psychology instruction are evident. However, variability in outcomes based on student and course characteristics suggests that instructors should consider these critical factors in course design.


Teaching of Psychology




DOI: 10.1177/00986283211031854

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