Volume 13

Perceptions of Peer Relationships in College: The Effects of Race & Dyspraxia Diagnosis

Corrine S. Howland and Nicole C. Austermann

There is a significant increase of Hispanic students enrolled in college as well as a rise of diagnosed learning disabilities. This study hoped to discover college students’ perceptions of Hispanic and Caucasian students as well as students with or without a specific learning disability, dyspraxia. A total of 120 students were randomly assigned to view one of two photographs accompanying a scenario depicting either a Caucasian or Hispanic prospective male student diagnosed with or without dyspraxia. Students rated the scenario character’s quality of relationships as well as the likelihood of associating with the character. A 2 x 2 Between Factors ANOVA was used to assess the impact of race and disability on relationship issues. As expected, college students perceived the scenario character with dyspraxia as less likeable and as having lower quality friendships than the scenario characters without dyspraxia. Furthermore, students perceived the scenario character with dyspraxia as having fewer friends than those without dyspraxia. These results were discussed relative to steps college campuses may take to improve student relations.

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