n South African Journal of Higher Education - Coping with diversity in dormitories in a historically white HEI in South Africa

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The dormitories of historically white higher education institutions (HEIs) are becoming increasingly diverse in South Africa. We were interested in finding out how white students cope with this increased diversity. We consider diversity and multiculturalism as acculturation issues and were interested in how acculturation conditions impact on the psychological acculturation outcomes of white students. We proposed a dual process model of diversity (DPMD), consisting of facilitating acculturation resources that lead to satisfaction with life and restricting acculturation demands that lead to ill-health symptoms. Scales of acculturation conditions and outcomes were administered to a convenience sample of 227 Afrikaans-speaking students. The hypothesised DPMD was confirmed in a path analysis. Acculturation resources were associated with life satisfaction and acculturation demands with ill-health and a reduction in life satisfaction. The results showed that white, Afrikaans-speaking, female students cope better with diversity compared to their male counterparts. Very negative diversity conditions can erode the benefits of positive acculturation conditions or resources.

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