Outcomes of Social Class and Classism in First- and Continuing-Generation College Students

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of classism that may explain links between social class, first-generation college student status, and academic and well-being outcomes. Specifically, with a sample of 1,225 college students from a public university, we examined social class and first-generation status as predictors of institutionalized, citational, and interpersonal classism and classism as a predictor of life satisfaction, academic satisfaction, and grade point average (GPA). Partially supporting hypotheses, social class and first-generation status predicted institutionalized classism and interpersonal classism, and social class predicted citational classism. In turn, institutionalized classism and citational classism negatively predicted life satisfaction, and institutionalized classism negatively predicted academic satisfaction. Indirect effects were significant from social class to life satisfaction via institutionalized and citational classism, from social class to academic satisfaction via institutionalized classism, and from first-generation status to life satisfaction via institutionalized classism. Social class also had direct effects to life satisfaction, academic satisfaction, and GPA, and first-generation status had direct effects to academic satisfaction and GPA. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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