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

Dance|Education, Educational Psychology|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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.