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August 1973

The Racial Perceptions Inventory

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC
From the Department of Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Dr. Borus and Mr. Dowd) and the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Walter Reed General Hospital (Drs. Fiman and Stanton). Dr. Borus is now with the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Boston. Dr. Stanton is now with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(2):270-275. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200020092013

The Racial Perceptions Inventory (RPI), a 66-statement inventory measuring racial attitudes and perceptions, was designed to assess the racial climate of military posts. Responses of 1,385 soldiers at three different army posts were used in the development and validation of three reliable scales dealing with different aspects of race relations in the military: Attitudes Toward Integration (ATI), Perceptions of Racial Discrimination (PRD), and Backlash Feelings (BF).

Racial perceptions tapped by the PRD and BF scales are highly associated with the race of the perceiver. Aside from race, surprisingly few other demographic variables were substantially associated with perceptions of every day military life. ATI scores showed little crossracial difference but were linked to premilitary contact with other races and career commitment to the military. Uses of the RPI in intervention planning and evaluation are suggested.