Implicit bias predicts less willingness and less frequent adoption of Black children more than explicit bias

Sarah Beth Bell, Rachel Farr, Eugene Ofosu, Eric Hehman, C. Nathan DeWall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the United States, prospective adoptive parents often express preferences related to race. In two studies, we examined whether implicit racial bias against Black people may contribute to disparities in much less willingness to adopt Black children. The first study (N = 510) assessed individuals’ implicit racial bias and their willingness to adopt a Black child. The second study (N = 2,001,652) used U.S. state-level implicit racial bias to predict adoption rates of Black foster children in each U.S. state. Greater implicit racial bias predicted less willingness to adopt Black children and less frequent adoptions of Black foster children. Implicit bias contributed to these disparities above and beyond explicit bias, with implicit bias having a 43% larger effect size than explicit bias on willingness to adopt a Black child. These are the first findings to demonstrate the role implicit bias plays in explaining large disparities between Americans’ willingness to adopt Black and White children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-565
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Volume163
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis.

Keywords

  • Adoption
  • IAT
  • explicit bias
  • implicit bias
  • racial disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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