Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Lawrence Grebstein


Self reported crying behavior in White college women along with ethnocultural variables which may influence their crying behavior was examined. Another focus of the study was to begin the development of an ethnocultural survey of crying behavior. Questions concerning socioeconomic status, religiosity/ spirituality, interpersonal experiences, family members feeling about crying behavior, perceptions of same race and other race crying, White Racial Identity Attitude (Helms, 1990) and the East/ West Questionnaire (Gilgen & Cho, 1979) were used as ethnocultural variables.

One hundred sixteen White women completed the survey during the first administration and sixty three of them completed the survey during the second administration. Test-retest reliability for the Crying Survey (CS) was good, r =.81; fair for the White Racial Identity Attitude Scale (WRIAS), r = .52, and poor for the East/ West questionnaire (EW), r = .34.

The main hypothesis that White women from various ethnic ancestral groups (e.g.,: English, Italian, Irish, etc.) would cry for a longer period of time during the last reported crying episode or for a greater frequency when compared to other ethnic groups was not supported.

Two principal component analyses were conducted on the crying survey and East/West questionnaire in order to develop survey sub-scales. Cronbach alphas were computed for CS and EW scales with reliabilities in the .50 to .85 range. WRIAS scales were calculated as suggested by Helms (1990).

Canonical correlations were conducted between WRIAS, EW, and CS scales, the main finding was that women who felt fear and relief when crying also relates to contact and disintegration on WRIAS and tended to like technology on EW scale.

Discriminant analyses were conducted to further explore the relationships between crying sub-scales, and eastern/ western world view, White racial identity, and ethnic group; no statistically significant relationships were found. A discriminant analysis using Crying, East/West, White racial scales as predictors could not (greater than chance or over 50%) predict ethnic group membership.

A series of stepwise multiple regression (MR) analyses used crying scales (e.g., negative affect, interpersonal positive response, and family culture) and East/West scales (e.g.; feelings of inner peace, disdain for technology, adjustment to the environment, and western orientation) as dependent variables with WRIAS and EW items as independent variables. For two of the MRs with WRIAS items, not having talked about racial issues in a White women's family was related to predicting family culture about crying and interpersonal response to a crying best friend.

There was general support for the emotional or psychological constructs of White Racial Identity. White women who felt blamed by Blacks and who felt uncomfortable on WRIAS items related to having a negative affect during their last crying episode. Crying duration seems to be related to contact, disintegration, and reintegration stage and inversely related to psuedo-independence and autonomy. Crying frequency is nearly just the opposite, relating positively to autonomy and negatively to contact, disintegration, and reintegration. Pseudo-independence also relates negatively to crying frequency but in lesser magnitude than contact, disintegration, and reintegration. Although highly speculative, these findings suggest there may be additional construct and/ or predictive validity in using White racial identity attitudes scale as a way to understand certain aspects of psycho-social and identity development in White college women.

The best predictors of crying behavior between EW items and family culture about crying were the ideals that people have individual choices. In this regression, over 25% of the variance in crying behavior was accounted for.

Several interesting findings were found when comparing White women "self versus other" perceptions of Black men and White men crying. White women believed that it was more acceptable for Black men to cry than White men. Also, a greater frequency of women thought that "other" people would look down on Black men crying more than "other men" crying. There was also a general trend of White women helping crying White men more than Black men.

Virtually all of the White women reported same race (92%), same sexual orientation (heterosexual) (99%), and same sex (84%) best friends.

Limitations, implications, and ideas for future crying research are discussed.



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