A Diversity Ideology Intervention: Multiculturalism Reduces the Racial Achievement Gap

Hannah J. Birnbaum*, Nicole M. Stephens, Sarah S.M. Townsend, Mar Yam G. Hamedani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In the United States, underrepresented racial minority (URM) students continue to face psychological barriers that undermine their achievement and fuel disparities in academic outcomes. In the current research, we tested whether a multicultural ideology intervention could improve URM students’ grade point averages (GPAs) during the first 2 years of college and thereby reduce the racial achievement gap. Specifically, first-year college students (N = 407) read a diversity statement that represented the schools’ diversity ideology in terms of either multiculturalism or colorblindness. URM students who read a multicultural diversity statement earned higher GPAs 2 years later compared to those who read a colorblind diversity statement. Furthermore, they earned higher GPAs compared to a nonparticipant campus-wide control group. The current study is the first to demonstrate that multiculturalism can increase the long-term academic outcomes of URM students in college.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-759
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • colorblind
  • diversity
  • higher education
  • intervention
  • multicultural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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