, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 535-554

Undergraduate political attitudes: An examination of peer, faculty, and social influences

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A socialization perspective is used to examine the processes through which undergraduate student political attitudes are influenced by peers, faculty, and social trends. Using the model of undergraduate socialization provided by Weidman (1989) as a framework, I examine how the normative contexts of college campuses and students' interactions with peers and faculty serve to influence the political orientations of students, net of precollege and college characteristics. Based on longitudinal data from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the results indicate that student orientations change in ways quite similar to trends observed more generally, and that peer and faculty normative contexts tend to have a positive influence of equal magnitude on political orientations of students.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1995 meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.