Interracial roommate relationships: Negotiating daily interactions

Thomas E. Trail, J. Nicole Shelton, Tessa V. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Jobs, social group memberships, or living arrangements lead many people to interact every day with another person from a different racial background. Given that research has shown that interracial interactions are often stressful, it is important to know how these daily interactions unfold across time and what factors contribute to the success or failure of these interactions. Both members of same-race and mixed-race college roommate pairs completed daily questionnaires measuring their emotional experiences and their perceptions of their roommate. Results revealed that roommates in mixed-race dyads experienced less positive emotions and intimacy toward their roommates than did roommates in same-race dyads and that the experience of positive emotions declined over time for ethnic minority students with White roommates. Mediation analyses showed that the negative effects of roommate race were mediated by the level of intimacy-building behaviors performed by the roommate. Implications for future research and university policies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-684
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


  • Daily diary
  • Dyads
  • Interracial relationships
  • Intimacy
  • Roommates


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