2008. 103. 882-892.
Ps)cholopical Reports 2008
SOCIOECONOMIC STEREOTYPES AhIONG UNDERGRADUATE
. socioeconomic stereothpes, prejudice, and disc rim in^.
tion that college sruiienrs direcr ro\iard their peers. n.as csan~ined.
sariiple of 53 un-
dergraduate students 136 nonien and
nicn). ages 18 ro 22 years
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-
VIalloy, 1995; Kirby, 1999; Cozzarelli, 1Y1ilkinson,
Eagly, 2002; Lott
Saxon. 2002; Luthar
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
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
IIarris. Department ot Psychology. Rollins College. 1000
Holt A\-e., \Y'inter Park.
32789 or e-mail ~~email@example.com.