Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Maurice Tyler


For decades, educational scholars have considered and investigated a number of factors (e.g., teacher beliefs and expectations, racism, and inadequate school resources) that maintain the negative schooling experiences of Black students. Recently, scholars have identified components of whiteness as factors informing the adverse educational experiences of these students. To date, however, few researchers have empirically examined attitudes, behaviors, and perspectives of whiteness in educational settings and among educational stakeholders. In addition, no study has explored an association between whiteness components and Black students’ overall educational experiences. The dearth of these studies in the educational and psychological literatures is due in part to limited instrumentation assessing the cultural and psychological elements of whiteness.

The purpose of this study was to develop and explore the factor structure of the Whiteness Components Scale (WCS) with a sample of White preservice teachers and a sample of White psychology students. In Study 1, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was employed on a set of items with 184 White preservice teachers. Results indicated a 2- Factor solution with 6 items for the Whiteness Components Scale: White Emotionality (WCS-WE) (n = 3) and White Standardization (WCS-WS) (n = 3). A review of the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) results on a sample of 160 participants enrolled in psychology courses showed exact fit for the 2-Factor model. Convergent validity was evident between WCS-WE and WCS-WS and three factors representing the White Privilege Attitudes Scale (WPAS) (i.e., Willingness to Confront White Privilege, White Privilege Awareness, and White Privilege Remorse) except Anticipated Costs of Addressing White Privilege (Pinterits et al., 2009). Specifically, results indicated a negative and high relationship between WCS-WE and WCS-WS and three of the factors on WPAS, but a low and positive association with Anticipated Costs of Addressing White Privilege.

Furthermore, WCS-WE and WCS-WS demonstrated a nonsignificant relationship with Multigroup Ethnic Identity—Exploration (ME), a subscale on the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure-Revised (MEIM-R) (Phinney & Ong, 2007). This nonsignificant association showed evidence of discriminant validity between the two whiteness

subscales and ME. However, the two whiteness factors showed a moderate to high and positive association with Multigroup Ethnic Identity— Commitment (MC) (Phinney & Ong, 2007), which was not anticipated. This study provides a preliminary psychometric assessment of the newly developed Whiteness Components Scale. Study limitations, future research directions, and brief implications for teacher education are provided.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by a grant provided by the Center for Equality and Social Justice at the University of Kentucky in 2019.