ERIC Number: ED149446
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: 0
Toward a Theory of the Political Impact of College: A Longitudinal Comparison of Students and Dropouts During a Period of Declining Activism.
This study measures the change in political orientation and activism level of students at the University of California at Berkeley during the early 1970s. During this time students became more liberal on some items and less on others, and became much less active politically. Results suggest strong historical effects on political attitudes and activism levels but also indicate some effects of college attendance or maturation. Continuous students and dropouts changed almost identically, indicating little college impact. The ideological consistency of continuous students declined but that of dropouts did not. The association between political measures and students' conceptions of college as a center for intellectual growth or as occupational training is very high in 1970 and declines precipitously by 1973. A theory is presented that attempts to integrate these findings and the pattern of findings over several decades. It argues that the degree and nature of college impact on student's value orientations depend on the content of the popularly institutionalized theory of college as a center of intellectual growth. If such growth includes challenging traditional political precepts, college will liberalize students. If not, as in the early 1970s, college will not affect political orientation. (Author/IRT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Data collection was funded with grant money from the Institute for Research in Social Behavior