Ethnic differences as measured by a biographical inventory questionnaire



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The primary objective of this study was an analysis of Biographical Information obtained from Negro and white samples of job applicants from a large petroleum refinery. Three samples of 75 cases each were drawn from an applicant population of 608 (517 whites, 91 Negroes). Each sample was limited to 75 cases due to computer program limitations. The 75 matched white applicants were matched one to one with Negro applicants on age and reported educational attainment. The third sample consisted of 75 white applicants selected randomly from the white applicant population and was used as a control to evaluate effects resulting from the matching technique. The BIB consisted of 67 items (460 alternatives) administered with a refinery selection battery of five cognitive tests. These BIB items were coded into eight content areas (Education, Home and Family, Vocational, Social Relations, Leisure-time Activities, Financial, Health, and Preferences) which were then analyzed for ethnic differences and relationship with cognitive test performance. A correlational analysis Indicated no marked differences between variable interrelationships for the three samples, however, there was a consistent restriction of range in the matched white sample due to matching. Mean differences on the five tests and the RBI key (BIB key empirically developed to predict cognitive test performance) were not significant between the matched white and random white samples. However, significant differences in mean score occurred for all variables between the Negro and white samples. The Chi-square and McNemar tests were applied to each BIB alternative for the random white-Negro comparison and the matched white-Negro comparison, respectively. A cross- comparison of BIB alternatives significantly associated with ethnic classification derived from the two comparisons indicated that a majority (61 alternatives) were common to both comparisons. However, attention was focused on the 86 alternatives associated with ethnic classification derived from the matched white-Negro comparison. The content areas of Education, Home and Family, and Vocational background provided the largest number of alternatives associated with ethnic classification. The Social Relations area also provided important differences. A comparison of these alternatives between Negro and white applicants characterized the white applicant as (1) being raised in a permissive environment, (2) being an average student with little achievement motivation, (3) wanting a job requiring skill and activity, and (4) being distrustful of others and occasionally dissatisfied with himself. Considering his performance on the cognitive tests, the white applicant was described as an underachiever, i.e., potential to achieve but little evidence of past achievement. The Negro applicant was characterized as (1) being raised in a home environment with stronger parental control over his decisions and activities, (2) being an above average student when compared with his peers, (3) having limited vocational goals, and (4) having a somewhat submissive social attitude. Considering his performance on the cognitive tests, the Negro applicant was described as successful within his own ethnic group, but limited when compared to white applicants. A comparison of the criterion-keyed alternatives (RBI) between ethnic groups revealed that the white applicant received positive credit in Home and Family and Vocational areas, while the Negro was penalized in these areas. Removal of RBI alternatives associated with ethnic classification eliminated the mean score difference, but differential prediction of battery performance existed, i.e., high RBI scores were equally predictive of Negro and white success, while low RBI scores predicted a lower battery score for Negroes than whites. An attempt to compare factor structure of RBI across ethnic classification yielded inconclusive results.



African Americans, Ethnic attitudes