Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Eric Shult



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Sara Bridges

Committee Member

Suzanne Lease

Committee Member

Doug Strohmer

Committee Member

Stephen Zanskas


Color-blind racial attitudes rely on the assumption that Americans live in a racially just world, where all people have equal access to opportunities and resources. Though subtle compared to past forms of overt racism, the belief that race is a non-issue (i.e., America is now beyond racism) has been found to produce hearmful effects for African Americans, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans. In contrast, high levels of attributional complexity, or the preference for complex explanations of behavior, correlate with low levels of subtle and overt racism. Additionally, moral variables (empathy, perspective-taking, and gratitude) have been found to limit behaviors that will harm the well-being of others (e.g., racism). Furthermore, the moral variables of empathy, perspective-taking, and gratitude demonstrate an engagement in the world that goes beyond one's own values, needs, or desires and enable him or her to see the world from the vantage point of other people. For the current research project, the results from an all white participant sample of 222 people (138 female, 62.2%; 84 male, 37.8%) found that moral variables accounted for a significant amount of variance in subtle racist attitudes, with empathy and perspective-taking negatively predicting subtle racist attitudes. Though gratitude did contribute to the overall model of moral variables that accounted for a significant amount of variance in subtle racist attitudes, gratitude was not a unique predictor of subtle racist attitudes. Attributional complexity did not account for a significant amount of variance in subtle racist attitudes. Implications for counseling psychology and future directions are discussed.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.