Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication & Theatre Arts

Committee Director

Thomas J. Socha

Committee Member

Frances Hassencahl

Committee Member

Tim Anderson


Prompted by the 2016 United States (US) Presidential election, the topic of Mexican immigration has come to figure prominently in contemporary societal discourse. This study explores the willingness of US citizens to communicate with Mexicans as a function of US citizens’ ethnocentrism and Mexicans’ immigration documentation status. Specifically, this study measured ethnocentrism (Neuliep & McCroskey, 1997) and general willingness to communicate (McCroskey, 1992) of US citizens and then considered the relationship of these variables to their willingness to communicate with documented and undocumented Mexican immigrants. The study also explored the potential role that various lifespan variables, such as early communication with Mexicans, close relationships with Mexicans, age, geographic location, and political affiliation may have on ethnocentrism and willingness to communicate with documented and undocumented Mexicans in the US.

One hundred and eighty-seven people (a non-random sample) completed an online instrument. The results of the study show that as expected ethnocentricity is negatively correlated with willingness to communicate with both documented and undocumented Mexicans. In addition, the results show that there is a stronger negative correlation between ethnocentricity when it comes to communicating with undocumented than documented Mexican immigrants. Further, the study found that close relationships with Mexicans matter in willingness to communicate as well as political affiliation. Although the study’s external validity is limited by a sample of mostly White women, the results argue for the need for future intercultural studies to more closely examine the role of a person’s immigration documentation status alongside of other major cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 1984) as a factor that can negatively affect intercultural communication.


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