SOCIOECONOMIC STEREOTYPES AhIONG UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE STUDENTS

SOCIOECONOMIC STEREOTYPES AhIONG UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE STUDENTS

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Pr~ci~olo~~culR~~po~tr, 2008. 103. 882-892. C Ps)cholopical Reports 2008 SOCIOECONOMIC STEREOTYPES AhIONG UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE STUDENTS Suiii/i2aq.-Classism. i.c. . socioeconomic stereothpes, prejudice, and disc rim in^. tion that college sruiienrs direcr ro\iard their peers. n.as csan~ined. A sariiple of 53 un- dergraduate students 136 nonien and 1; nicn). ages 18 ro 22 years (11 = 19.0. SD= 1.21. IT-ere recruited from psychology couries. Utilizing a compurer-adminisrered qucs- tionnaire, participants were randomly assigned to rate a fictitious student a-hose family income \\-as specified as among rhe Ion-est or hlghest at the college. Upper Income tar- gets were rated as more sociable, judgmental, attractive. more likely to use alcohol and drugs. and more likely to belong to a fraternit! or sororit!. Lo\\.er Income targets \rere rated as inore likable, agreeable, conscientious, inteiligerit. creati\e, arid better able to maintain close friendships. Research dirccted ro\\.ard the middle class could help fill a gap in the classism literature. Research on ciassism in higher education could clarif! this potentially divisi~ e issue alllong undergraduares. Classism involves stereotypes. prejudice, and discrimination based on socioeconomic status. Classist stereotypes u~ould involve beliefs attributed to individuals given their membership in a socioeconomic status category, preju- dice would involve negative evaluations based on this membership, and dis- crimination would invo11.e a change in behavior directed toward individuals based on their socioeconomic status (Fiske. 1998: Lott, 2002). Most literature on classism has focused on the economic extremes of poverty and wealth (Stacey, Singer, & Rtchie. 1989: Orpen, 1991; Baron, Al- bright, & VIalloy, 1995; Kirby, 1999; Cozzarelli, 1Y1ilkinson, & Tagler, 2001; Johannesen-Schmidt & Eagly, 2002; Lott & Saxon. 2002; Luthar & Becker. 2002). The present study diverged by examining classism among middle- and upper-class students at a small, private, liberal arts college. Although socio- economic divisions exist on college campuses (Xstin & Oseguera, 2004), most college students do not come from lower income groups (Paulsen & St. John, 20021, consequently, stereotypes related to poverty may not be particu- larly salient when students are evaluating each other. However, classisln may surface when students make social distinctions between middle-class versus upper-class peers, as these are the economic divisions prevalent on campus. Although the present study did not address low income students, a re- view of the classisnl literature cannot ignore the preponderance of research on stereotypes. prejudice. and discrimination directed toward those strug- 'Address correspondence to Paul B. IIarris. Department ot Psychology. Rollins College. 1000 Holt A\-e., \Y'inter Park. rL 32789 or e-mail ~~harris@rollins.edui. DOT 10.24(7(~:PR0.103.3.882-8'12
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SOCIOECOSOhIIC STATUS STEREOTYPES AT COLLEGE 883 gling with poverty (Stacey, et dl., 1989: Orpen, 1991: Baron, et nl., 1995: Kir- by, 1999; Cozzarelli. et al. . 2001; Johannesen-Schmidt & Eagly. 2002; Lott & Saxon, 2002: Luthar & Becker. 2002). This literature has indicated that ste-
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SOCIOECONOMIC STEREOTYPES AhIONG UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE STUDENTS

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