Social Class Differences in Social Integration Among Students in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis and Recommendations for Future Research

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A meta-analysis of 35 studies found that social class (socioeconomic status) is related to social integration among students in higher education: Working-class students are less integrated than middle-class students. This relation generalized across students' gender and year of study, as well as type of social class measure (parental education and parental income). However, type of social integration measure was a significant moderator. In particular, the social subscale of the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire obtained the largest effect (r = .18, p < .001). Significant effects were also found using measures of the sense of belonging and participation in formal and informal social activities. Future research in this area should use multidimensional measures of social integration and investigate potential mediators of the social class-social integration relation.

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