The Educational Benefits of Sustaining Cross-Racial Interaction Among Undergraduates


This study examined whether or not students who either had higher levels of cross-racial interaction during college or had same-institution peers with higher average levels of this type of interaction tend to report significantly larger developmental gains than their counterparts. Unlike previous quantitative studies that tested cross-racial interaction using single-level linear models, this study more accurately models the structure of multilevel data by applying Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM). The general pattern of findings suggests that higher individual levels of cross-racial interaction have positive effects on students' openness to diversity, cognitive development, and self-confidence. The results also show that even though a student’s own level of cross-racial interaction is a more direct and powerful way to realize developmental gains, simply being in an environment where other students are interacting frequently also contributes to students’ self-reported development.

Mitchell J. Chang
Nida Denson
Victor Saenz
Kimberly Misa
Publication date: 
February 1, 2005
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Chang, M. J, Denson, N., Sáenz, V., & Misa, K. (2005). The Educational Benefits of Sustaining Cross-Racial Interaction Among Undergraduates. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.