Diverse Values in American College Women

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Abstract

This article examines ethnicity-related differences and commonalities in women attending urban American universities. To follow up on a pilot study that suggested ethnic differences in self-reported sociotropy (social dependency), an empirical study of 121 undergraduate women attending New York metropolitan universities examined values and attitudes theoretically related to individualism in four different ethnic groups of college women: European Americans, African Americans, Eastern European immigrants, and Caribbean immigrants. Self-reports revealed that women of African descent perceive themselves as less interdependent, value reliance and dependency on others less, and value self-reliance more than do women of European descent. No differences were found between immigrants and American-born women. Results are discussed in terms of economic and social influences on cultural and personal development. The article also discusses implications for pedagogic techniques and ways of interacting with students.