ERIC Number: ED228585
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
Changes in the Social Climate of a College Campus over a Decade.
Martinez, Alyce C.; Sedlacek, William E.
College officials often assume that college students of the 1980's are radically different from their counterparts in the 1960's and 1970's, but attitude change is rarely measured. To study perceptions of peer group attitudes over the past decade, the responses of 310 white, incoming University of Maryland freshmen were compared to those of 204 white freshmen who attended the University in 1970. Students completed questionnaires which indicated their perceptions of how most college students felt about persons holding certain beliefs. There were significant differences on 8 of 16 items. Communists, socialists, liberals, persons favoring gradual desegregation, and cigarette smokers were seen more negatively in 1981 than in 1970. In contrast, conservatives, people favoring U.S. foreign policy, and persons favoring premarital sex were seen more positively. Most of the changes were in political attitudes, reflecting a trend toward conservatism. There was little change in racial attitudes: racist attitudes continue to be negatively perceived. The study suggests the need for college officials to test their assumptions empirically rather than relying on myths about student attitudes and behaviors, and to update orientation programs, student activities, and health and counseling services accordingly. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Maryland Univ., College Park. Counseling Center.