Michele A Wittig

California State University, Northridge, Northridge, Ohio, United States

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Publications (18)26.91 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: How is social identity related to psychological well-being among minority individuals? Drawing on developmental models of identity formation (e.g., Erikson, 1968) and on Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), we tested a conceptual model examining links between two key aspects of social identity and psychological well-being. We proposed that the association between identity achievement (exploring and understanding the meaning of one's identity) and psychological well-being is mediated by identity affirmation (developing positive feelings and a sense of belonging to one's social group). Across three studies, including ethnic minority high school students (Study 1), ethnic minority college students (Study 2) and lesbian and gay male adults (Study 3), we found strong support for the model. Results suggest that the process of exploring and understanding one's minority identity can serve as an important basis for developing positive feelings toward and an enhanced sense of attachment to the group, which can in turn confer psychological benefits for minority individuals. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 01/2011; 17(1):79-88. DOI:10.1037/a0022532 · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A national, Web-based survey of 1,219 African American, Latina/o, Asian American, and European American psychology graduate students revealed both similarities and differences in experiences and perspectives. Mentoring was found to be the strongest predictor of satisfaction across groups. Academic supports and barriers, along with perceptions of diversity within the academic environment, were also important predictors of satisfaction. Students of color perceived less fairness of representation of their ethnic group within psychology than European American students, and a greater linkage between aspects of the graduate school experience and their ethnicity. Limitations of the study and implications for future research and action are discussed.
    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 01/2011; 17(1):68-78. DOI:10.1037/a0021668 · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    Samantha J Simmons, Michele A Wittig, Sheila K Grant
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the relationship between college students' perceptions of their campus' multicultural climate and their acceptance of racial/ethnic diversity. A two-mediator model, based on acculturation principles, was successfully fit to survey data from 434 college students of diverse racial/ethnic heritage. Results showed that valuing positive interactions with members of ethnocultural groups other than one's own is a positive mediator and strength of ethnocultural identity is a (much less important) negative mediator of the relationship between student perceptions of multicultural campus programming and personal acceptance of diverse racial/ethnic groups. Furthermore, each mediator independently contributed to the prediction of such acceptance. Overall, the model accounts for about 25% of the variance in acceptance of diversity and was a better fit to the data than a reverse path model. Follow-up analyses, separately by ethnic group, showed that perceptions of campus programming predicted acceptance of diversity for the White subsample, but not for the Latino subsample. Nevertheless, the two acculturation-related constructs were important for both groups, with the model accounting for 28% and 24% of their respective variances in acceptance of diversity. Practical implications are drawn.
    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 10/2010; 16(4):468-75. DOI:10.1037/a0020237 · 1.36 Impact Factor
  • Michele Andrisin Wittig, Rosemary Hays Lowe
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    ABSTRACT: During the last 25 years, the wage gap between men and women full-time workers in the United States has commanded much attention. Comparable worth theory asserts that sex segregation in the workplace has unjustly depressed wages in female-dominated jobs. Comparable worth policy is designed to eliminate pay differentials between male- and female-dominated jobs for which the skill, effort, responsibility, and risk are equivalent. Social scientists have important contributions to make to public debate over the theory and practice of comparable worth. Social psychological theorists and labor economists provide models of wage determination. Industrial-organizational psychologists and compensation administrators evaluate jobs for the purpose of setting pay and serve on management–labor negotiating teams. Measurement specialists use their skills to reduce bias in job evaluation. All these professionals sometimes serve as expert witnesses, assisting attorneys in their presentation of evidence in pay litigation. This journal issue examines the theory and the implementation of comparable worth from all these perspectives. The presentation acknowledges the importance of social structural factors that perpetuate discrimination in wages, and it aims to clarify the strengths and weaknesses of comparable worth as a tool for overcoming that discrimination.
    Journal of Social Issues 04/2010; 45(4):1 - 22. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1989.tb02356.x · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Michele Andrisin Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: The primary goals of this issue of the journal are to advance our understanding of the mobilization and empowerment of people who organize locally for social change and to identify strategies for initiating and sustaining such grassroots activism. A secondary aim is to encourage the use of action research in this domain. The author defines grassroots organizing and explains its suitability for social psychological analysis at the individual, interpersonal, collective, and cultural levels. Action research as a strategy for studying grassroots participation is considered. To situate the present volume in its intellectual context, the author outlines prior related perspectives on collective action. The article concludes with summaries of the remaining articles in the present volume.
    Journal of Social Issues 04/2010; 52(1):3 - 14. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1996.tb01358.x · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Michele Andrisin Wittig, Joseph Schmitz
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    ABSTRACT: Using principles derived from communication theory and social psychology, the authors develop and test propositions about grassroots organizing on electronic media. Three categories of users on a municipal electronic network were studied: city decision makers, activists who formed a grassroots group that developed and successfully lobbied city decision makers to establish a transitional center for the homeless, and a social group of users who later joined the system. The authors report analyses based on survey data, interviews, and extensive participant-observation. Results showed that (1) the municipal electronic network facilitated the formation of users' ties across traditional socioeconomic boundaries and power differentials, (2) users of the system reported that their perceptions regarding a (homeless) outgroup had been positively altered, and (3) the system enhanced participation of previous nonparticipants in civic life.
    Journal of Social Issues 04/2010; 52(1):53 - 69. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1996.tb01361.x · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Rosemary Hays Lowe, Michele Andrisin Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: This paper discusses additional topics in the comparable worth controversy, organized into four broad areas corresponding to the structure of the journal issue. (1) To balance the historical, legal, and economic perspectives presented in Section 1, information is supplied on the views of workers themselves and of organized labor, and reasons are presented for expanding theory and practice to cover racial and ethnic minorities. (2) Concerning social psychological aspects of pay equity, ideas are presented on how equity theory itself may be extended, some relationships between actual and psychological equity, social comparison and other motives for seeking redress, relationships between comparable worth and procedural and distributive justice, and the social context in which judgments of fairness are made. (3) In relation to job evaluation, we address five additional concerns: reliability, agreement with a criterion, content validity, convergence of methods, and the meaning of job worth. (4) Concerning the implementation and implications of comparable worth, cross-national and intranational comparisons are drawn, and three important strategies in the U.S. are described.
    Journal of Social Issues 04/2010; 45(4):223 - 246. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1989.tb02369.x · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    Jessieka Mata, Negin Ghavami, Michele A Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: Drawing on social dominance theory and the contact hypothesis, we developed and tested a two-mediator model for explaining gender differences in early adolescents' attitudes toward gay males and lesbians. Data from more than 400 ninth graders were analyzed. As predicted, gender differences in attitudes toward gay males were partially explained by social dominance orientation (SDO) and knowing a gay male. Gender differences in attitudes toward lesbians were partially mediated by SDO, while knowing a lesbian was not a mediating variable. Beyond their mediating roles, both SDO and knowing a member of the target group each significantly added to the prediction of attitudes toward each target group. Implications for policies to reduce victimization of sexual minorities in schools are discussed.
    The Journal of Early Adolescence 02/2010; 30(1):50-75. DOI:10.1177/0272431609350925 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present paper develops and tests two temporal models of the relationships among adolescents' ethnic identity exploration, ethnic identity affirmation and belonging, and attitudes toward their racial/ethnic ingroup and outgroups. Structural equation models for Euro-Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos revealed that all hypothesized relationships were positive and significant. The model in which ethnic identity exploration (at Time 1) predicts ethnic identity affirmation and belonging (at Time 2) was superior to the alternative model in which the relationship between them was reversed (i.e., affirmation and belonging at Time 1 predicts exploration at Time 2). Results (1) support the importance of exploration as a basis for establishing a secure attachment to one's ethnic identity, which, in turn, has positive implications for attitudes toward one's own group and other groups and (2) suggest that maintenance of ethnic identity is compatible with positive attitudes toward ethnic outgroups.
    Journal of Research on Adolescence 03/2009; 19(1):123-135. DOI:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2009.00585.x · 1.99 Impact Factor
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    James Hsiao, Michele Andrisin Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: This study compares Latino host, Latino immigrant, Asian-American host, Asian-American immigrant and European-American host groups of adolescents with respect to four acculturation-related variables: ethnic identity exploration, ethnic identity affirmation/belonging, outgroup orientation, and American identity. Using the five ethno-generational categories as a grouping variable, we conducted analyses of 313 survey responses to the acculturation items at two time periods, 9 weeks apart. Results showed that differences among the three host racial/ethnic groups can best be explained by a group dominance perspective, whereby the two racial/ethnic minority groups are more similar to each other than they are to the European-American group. Furthermore, the relationship between American identity and ethnic identity components is stronger among the three host groups, as compared to the immigrant groups. Implications for future research with adolescent members of the host group whose heritage culture is non-European are drawn.
    American Journal of Community Psychology 11/2008; 42(3-4):286-97. DOI:10.1007/s10464-008-9205-9 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    Michael T Giang, Michele A Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: Berry, Trimble, and Olmedo's (1986) acculturation model was used to investigate the relationship among adolescents' acculturation strategies, personal self-esteem, and collective self-esteem. Using data from 427 high school students, factor analysis results distinguished Collective Self-esteem Scale constructs (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992) from both ethnic identity and outgroup orientation subscales of the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (Phinney, 1992). Subsequent results showed that: 1) both acculturation dimensions were correlated with personal and collective self-esteems, 2) integrationists shared similar levels of personal and collective self-esteems with assimilationists and/or separationists, and 3) marginalizationists generally had the lowest levels of personal and collective self-esteems. Implications are drawn for understanding acculturation among adolescents and for the utility of group-level measures of self-esteem.
    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 11/2006; 12(4):725-39. DOI:10.1037/1099-9809.12.4.725 · 1.36 Impact Factor
  • Ludwin E. Molina, Michele A. Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: Research on contact theory has typically presented four major situational conditions of intergroup contact as separate and equally important in creating an environment that leads to lower levels of racial/ethnic prejudice. We empirically test this “separate and equal” assumption with a variety of student samples and outcome variables. Using data from three cohorts of high school students, as well as one middle school sample, we demonstrate that acquaintance potential and interdependence are the most consistent and robust predictors of prejudice reduction, outgroup orientation, and perceptions of a common ingroup identity. Findings concerning differences in the relative importance of these situational conditions for different racial/ethnic groups are also reported. Implications for implementing optimal contact conditions for prejudice reduction among various ethnic groups are drawn.
    Journal of Social Issues 08/2006; 62(3):489 - 509. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2006.00470.x · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Keith Sagan, Marc Pondel, Michele Andrisin Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: Hypotheses were tested concerning the relationship of anticipated future interaction and sex of allocator vs. sex of recipient on reward allocation norm choice. Male and female college students worked on a sex-neutral, attributionally ambiguous task. Subjects participated in same- and mixed-sex dyads, but were kept isolated from one another. All received feedback that they had contributed higher input than their partner and had been randomly chosen to apportion a group reward. The primary dependent variable was amount of reward allocated to self. As predicted, there was a significant difference in allocation norm choice in the no future interaction condition (with males favoring equity and females employing equality), while both sexes divided the reward equally between themselves and the coworker in the future interaction condition. A model was proposed to explain these findings in terms of a continuum of social interaction levels. Rather than being viewed as independent causal entities, sex of allocator and sex of recipient were demonstrated to play roles of differing importance as a function of the level of interaction experienced or anticipated.
    Journal of Personality 04/2006; 49(4):438 - 448. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-6494.1981.tb00225.x · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In an era during which affirmative action in education is in jeopardy, it is important to understand how the ideologies of high-status ethnic group members maintain (or reduce) social inequality. We examine the extent to which the relationship between egalitarianism and prejudice among European American and Asian American adolescents can be explained by outgroup orientation (i.e., how much one values interacting with members of other ethnic groups) and strength of identification with one's ethnic group. Using structural equation modeling, we tested whether these two variables mediate the relationship between egalitarianism and intergroup prejudice. Results revealed that outgroup orientation was a mediator, but ethnic identity was not. Implications for mutual acculturation theory, prejudice-reduction programs, and affirmative action in education are discussed.
    Journal of Social Issues 08/2005; 61(3):525 - 545. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2005.00419.x · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Ludwin E. Molina, Michele A. Wittig, Michael T. Giang
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    ABSTRACT: Using Berry, Trimble, and Olmedo's (1986) theorizing as a foundation, the present article applies acculturation constructs to the domain of intergroup bias and compares them to social categorization variables. The paper comprises three school-based studies that test the predictive and mediating roles of acculturation and social categorization, respectively. Results of Studies 1 and 2 with ethnically diverse classes of ninth graders support the hypothesis that outgroup orientation, a dimension of acculturation, mediates the interracial classroom climate-intergroup bias relationship, and independently boosts the prediction of bias. Although social categorization variables do not mediate this relationship reliably, as a group they predict bias. Study 3 replicates these findings in a different context with a largely European American class of seventh grade students.
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 01/2004; 7(3):239-265. DOI:10.1177/1368430204046110 · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    Kevin A Whitehead PhD, Michele A Wittig
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    ABSTRACT: In the five decades since the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case ended legalized racial segregation in US schools, achieving multiculturalism and diversity have become primary goals in education. Resistance on the part of students to multicultural educational interventions may pose a significant threat to their success. This study investigates how student participants of a multicultural educational intervention discursively manage their resistance to the programme in such a way that they avoid appearing prejudiced. Five strategies are identified whereby students discursively managed their negative evaluations of lessons addressing race and ethnicity: 1) denying prejudice, 2) portraying lessons as uninteresting, 3) constructing diversity as protective against prejudice, 4) normalizing self-segregation and 5) normalizing prejudice and intergroup tension. The article concludes with a discussion of the practical and ideological implications of the discursive practices identified in the study.
    Qualitative Research in Psychology 01/2004; 1(4):267-284. DOI:10.1191/1478088704qp018oa
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