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Ethnocentirism, intercultural interaction, and U.S. College Student’s Intercultural Communicative Behaviors: An Exploration of Relationships

Justen (Massengill), Julie R.
Committee Members: 
Dr. John Haas
December 2009

Abstract: Ethnocentrism is the experience of seeing one’s own culture as superior to other cultures. It is an element of intercultural communication that has the potential to greatly affect how one communicates. As the cultures of the world are in increasingly close contact, understanding the significance of ethnocentrism as related to intercultural communication competence, intercultural willingness to communicate and elements of international interaction (i.e., amount of intercultural interaction, desire for intercultural interaction, and satisfaction with intercultural interaction) becomes an important process in both interpersonal and organization communication.

To test the relationships among these variables, 304 undergraduate students were surveyed using a previously designed ethnocentrism scale, intercultural communication competence scale, intercultural willingness to communicate scale, and self-designed questions to measure intercultural interaction. The results indicate that ethnocentrism, intercultural communication competence, and intercultural willingness to communicate are collectively predictive of the amount of, the desire for, and satisfaction with intercultural interaction. Individually, ethnocentrism was negatively predictive of the desire for and satisfaction with intercultural interaction. Intercultural communication competence was positively predictive of the amount of and the desire for intercultural interaction. Intercultural willingness to communicate was positively predictive of the desire for intercultural interaction. In addition, the results of the study, interpretation of the data analysis, study implications, and directions for future research are discussed.