ERIC Number: ED203392
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-May
Reference Count: 0
Attitudes toward Free Speech: Trends, Measurement and Individual Difference Considerations.
Gordon, William I.; Infante, Dominic A.
Although Kent State University was regarded as a symbol of radical protest after four students were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen in 1970, a survey of student opinion toward demonstrations and other kinds of free speech activity taken in 1969, shortly before the shootings, showed that the student body was in fact conservative. Other researchers observed that attitudes toward freedom of speech had grown more restrictive, suggesting that attitudes fluctuate with levels of stress in the social climate: people are less tolerant of freedoms that may endanger an already strained status quo. Based on this assumption, a study was conducted to discover if student attitudes toward freedom of speech at Kent State were more favorable in the more relaxed social climate of 1979. Two hundred thirty-two students in communication courses completed a 34-item questionnaire for measuring freedom of speech attitudes. Twenty-three of these items were taken from the 1969 survey. For 17 of those items, the 1979 sample had the more favorable attitudes toward free speech, indicating that attitudes toward freedom of speech became more tolerant from 1969 to 1979. This appears to support the speculation that attitudes toward free speech become more restrictive in a stressful social climate. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Kent State University OH
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Minneapolis, MN, May 21-25, 1981).