White Americans Report More Positive Than Negative Affect After Writing a Personal Diversity Statement

Ellen M. Carroll, Tammi D. Walker, Alyssa Croft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


An increasing number of colleges and universities now require graduate student and faculty applicants to submit personal diversity statements for evaluation. Despite their rising use, little is known about how the personal diversity statement writing process is experienced by applicants. For White individuals in particular, their sources of egalitarian motivation may influence affective responses to writing a diversity statement given the content that is typical of these application components and the unease demonstrated in response to diversity-related contexts that is characteristic of White people with a strong external motivation to respond without prejudice. In the present study, White students at an American university participated in a personal diversity statement writing task and self-reported their motivation to respond without prejudice (in advance of the session) and affect (following the writing task). Despite prior research suggesting that they would feel otherwise, participants reported more positive affect compared to negative affect in relation to writing the diversity statement. When considering their sources of motivation, however, White individuals who were more externally motivated to respond without prejudice reported slightly more negative affect in reaction to the diversity statement writing task when compared to those low in external motivation. These findings have implications for the inclusion of personal diversity statements in candidate application materials at various levels of higher education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Affect
  • Diversity initiatives
  • Diversity statements
  • Hiring and admissions
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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