Sex Roles

, Volume 31, Issue 1–2, pp 31–54 | Cite as

The impact of college experience on political and social attitudes

  • Ilsa L. Lottes
  • Peter J. Kuriloff
Article

Abstract

In the last two decades a considerable volume of research has focused on how the college experience affects students. The purpose of the research reported here was to investigate to what extent students (predominantly Caucasian) at a highly selective university on the East coast changed their political and social attitudes during college. In particular, the influences of religious background, gender, membership in a fraternity or sorority, and time in college on attitudes were examined. Results indicated that students as seniors scored higher on measures of liberalism, social conscience, homosexuality tolerance and feminist attitudes and lower on male-dominant attitudes than they did as first year students. Given the lack of previous studies of change in attitudes toward homosexuality in college and the current political debate about issues relating to sexual orientation, an important finding was the substantial increase in tolerance of homosexuality by all subgroups. Results are discussed with respect to the special characteristics and potential influence of Ivy League students.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Astin, A. W. (1977).Four critical years. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education.Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 297–308.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, W. T., Silver, N. C., & Oliver, K. (1990). Women's rights and roles: Attitudes among black and white students.Psychological Reports, 66, 1143–1146.Google Scholar
  4. Baird, L. (1988). The college environment revisited: A review of research and theory. In J. C. Smart (Ed.),Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 1). New York: Agathon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bayer, A. E. (1975). Sexist students in American colleges: A descriptive note.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 37, 391–397.Google Scholar
  6. Bendet, P. (1986, August/September). Hostile eyes: A report on homophobia on American campuses.Campus Voice, 30–36.Google Scholar
  7. Bohrnstedt, G. W. (1969). Conservatism, authoritarianism and religiosity of fraternity pledges.Journal of College Student Personnel, 10, 36–43.Google Scholar
  8. Bowen, H. R. (1977).Investment in learning: The individual and social value of education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  9. Braungart, R. G., & Braungart, M. H. (1988). From yippies to yuppies: Twenty years of freshman attitudes.Public Opinion, 11, 53–55.Google Scholar
  10. Briere, J., Malamuth, Neil, M. N., & Check, J. W. (1985). Sexuality and rape-supportive beliefs.International Journal of Women's Studies, 8, 398–403.Google Scholar
  11. Brinkerhoff, M. B., & Mackie, M. (1985). Religion and gender: A comparison of Canadian and American student attitudes.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47, 415–429.Google Scholar
  12. Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 217–230.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. D'Emilio, J. (1990). The campus environment for gay and lesbian life.Academe: Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, 76, 16–19.Google Scholar
  14. Dey, E. (1989).College impact and student liberalism revisited: The effect of student peers. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Graduate School of Education, Higher Education Research Institute, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  15. Feldman, K. A., & Newcomb, T. M. (1969).The impact of college on students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  16. Funk, R. B., & Willits, F. K. (1987). College attendance and attitude change: A panel study, 1970–81.Sociology of Education, 60, 224–231.Google Scholar
  17. Garrett-Gooding, J., & Senter, R. (1987). Attitudes and acts of sexual aggression on a university campus.Sociological Inquiry, 57, 348–371.Google Scholar
  18. Grant, S. M. (1990). Departing the Greek hot seat.Alpha Phi Quarterly, 102, 170–171.Google Scholar
  19. Hastings, P. K., & Hoge, D. R. (1986). Religious and moral attitude trends among college students.Social Forces, 65, 370–377.Google Scholar
  20. Henley, N. M., & Pincus, F. (1978). Interrelationship of sexist, racist, and antihomosexual attitudes.Psychological Reports, 42, 83–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hyman, H. H., & Wright, C. (1979).Education's lasting influence on values. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jackman, M. R. (1978). General and applied tolerance: Does education increase commitment to racial integration?American Journal of Political Science, 22, 302–324.Google Scholar
  23. Jackman, M. R., & Muha, M. J. (1984). Education and intergroup attitudes: Moral enlightenment, superficial democratic commitment or ideological refinement?American Sociological Review, 49, 751–769.Google Scholar
  24. Jackson, R., & Winkler, R. C. (1964). Comparison of pledges and independents.Personnel and Guidance Journal, 43, 379–382.Google Scholar
  25. Jacobs, J. A. (1986). The sex-segregation of fields of study.Journal of Higher Education, 57, 134–154.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, G. P., & Jacklin, C. N. (1988). Changes in sexist attitudes toward women during women's and men's studies courses.Sex Roles, 18, 611–622.Google Scholar
  27. Kalof, L., & Cargill, T. (1991). Fraternity and sorority membership and gender dominance attitudes.Sex Roles, 25, 419–425.Google Scholar
  28. King, L. A., & King, D. W. (1985). Sex-role egalitarianism: Biographical and personality correlates.Psychological Reports, 57, 787–792.Google Scholar
  29. King, L. A., & King, D. W. (1990). Abbreviated measures of sex role egalitarian attitudes.Sex Roles, 23, 659–673.Google Scholar
  30. Krasnow, R. M., & Longino, C. F. (1973). Reference and membership group influence of fraternities on student political orientation change.Journal of Social Psychology, 91, 163–164.Google Scholar
  31. Kurdek, L. (1988). Correlates of negative attitudes toward homosexuals in heterosexual college students.Sex Roles, 18, 727–738.Google Scholar
  32. Larsen, K. S., & Long, E. (1988). Attitudes toward sex-roles: Traditional or egalitarian.Sex Roles, 19, 1–12.Google Scholar
  33. Longino, C. F. Jr., & Kart, C. S. (1973). The college fraternity: An assessment of theory and research.Journal of College Student Personnel, 14, 118–125.Google Scholar
  34. Lottes, I. L. (1985). The use of cluster analysis to determine belief patterns of sexual attitudes.The Journal of Sex Research, 21, 405–421.Google Scholar
  35. Lottes, I. L. (1991). Belief systems: Sexuality and rape.Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 4, 37–39.Google Scholar
  36. Marks, H. (1990).The college experience: Differential gender effects on the development of social responsibility. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Education Research Association, Boston.Google Scholar
  37. Martin, P. Y., & Hummer, R. A. (1989). Fraternities and rape on campus.Gender and Society, 3, 457–473.Google Scholar
  38. Miller, L. D. (1973). Distinctive characteristics of fraternity members.Journal of College Student Personnel, 14, 126–129.Google Scholar
  39. Minnigerode, F. A. (1976). Attitudes toward homosexuality: Feminist attitudes and sexual conservatism.Sex Roles, 2, 347–352.Google Scholar
  40. Monroe, A. D. (1975).Public opinion in America. New York: Dodd, Mead.Google Scholar
  41. Moos, R. H. (1979). Evaluating educational environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  42. Muir, D. E. (1991). White fraternity and sorority attitudes towards blacks on a deep-south campus.Sociological Spectrum, 11, 93–103.Google Scholar
  43. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (1991).How college affects students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  44. Pascarella, E. T., Ethington, C. A., & Smart, J. C. (1988). The influence of college on humanitarian/civic involvement values.Journal of Higher Education, 59, 412–437.Google Scholar
  45. Peterson, R. E. (1968).Student questionnaire: Technical manual. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.Google Scholar
  46. Quinley, H. E., & Glock, C. Y. (1979).Anti-semitism in America. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  47. Reiss, I. L. (1986).Journey into sexuality: An exploratory voyage. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  48. Reiss, I. L. (1990).An end to shame: Shaping our next sexual revolution. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  49. Shea, J. (1990). The fraternity thing.The Pennsylvania Gazette, 88, 17–27.Google Scholar
  50. Sears, A. (1984, September 28). Greek life investigation underway.Bucknellian, 7.Google Scholar
  51. Singleton, R., & Christiansen, J. B. (1976). The construct validation of a shortform attitudes toward feminism scale.Sociology and Social Research, 61, 294–303.Google Scholar
  52. Skelly, F. (1986, March/April). To the beat of a different drum.Harvard Magazine, 20–27.Google Scholar
  53. Smith, A. D., Resick, P. A., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (1980). Relationships among gender sex-role attitudes, sexual attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors.Psychological Reports, 46, 359–367.Google Scholar
  54. Smith, E. R., Ferree, M. M., & Frederick D. Miller (1975). A short scale of attitudes toward feminism.Representative Research in Social Psychology, 6, 51–56.Google Scholar
  55. Smith, T. W. (1990). Report: The sexual revolution?Public Opinion Quarterly, 54, 415–435.Google Scholar
  56. Stark, L. P. (1991). Traditional gender role beliefs and individual outcomes: An exploratory analysis.Sex Roles, 24, 639–649.Google Scholar
  57. Tallichet, S. E., & Willits, F. K. (1986). Gender-role attitude change of young women: Influential factors from a panel study.Social Psychology Quarterly, 49, 219–227.Google Scholar
  58. Thornton, A., Alwin, D., & Camburn, D. (1983). Causes and consequences of sex-role attitudes and attitude change.American Sociological Review, 48, 211–227.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Weil, F. D. (1985). The variable effects of education on liberal attitudes: A comparative-historical analysis of anti-semitism using public opinion survey data.American Sociological Review, 50, 458–474.Google Scholar
  60. Wilder, D. H., Hoyt, A. E., Doren, D. M., Hauch, W. E., & Zettle, R. D. (1978). The impact of fraternity and sorority membership on values and attitudes.Journal of College Student Personnel, 19, 445–449.Google Scholar
  61. Wilder, D. H., Hoyt, A. E., Surbeck, B. S., Wilder, J. C., & Carney, P. A. (1986). Greek affiliation and attitude change in college students.Journal of College Student Personnel, 27, 510–519.Google Scholar
  62. Wilson, G. D. (1973).The psychology of conservatism. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilsa L. Lottes
    • 1
  • Peter J. Kuriloff
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Maryland Baltimore CountyUSA
  2. 2.University of PennsylvaniaUSA

Personalised recommendations