Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Kristjen Lundberg

Second Advisor

Karen Kochel


The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between high-quality interracial

friendships and race essentialism among college students who perceived differing levels of racial diversity in their hometowns. Participants, who were recruited from a small, private university in the southeastern United States, included 84 juniors and seniors who reported having at least one other-race close friend. Participants completed a web-based survey about their hometown diversity, friendship quality, and race essentialism. Results from multiple regression analyses revealed two significant interaction effects between hometown diversity and two measures of interracial friendship quality: intimate disclosure and affection. Findings indicated that higher intimate disclosure and affection within interracial friendships were associated with lower race essentialism but only for individuals from less diverse hometowns. This study extends previous research on intergroup relationships and race essentialism and underscores the importance of high-quality interracial friendships for individuals from less racially diverse backgrounds.