SOCIOECONOMIC STEREOTYPES AMONG UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE STUDENTS1

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Abstract

Classism, i.e., socioeconomic stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination that college students direct toward their peers, was examined. A sample of 53 undergraduate students (36 women and 17 men), ages 18 to 22 years (M = 19.0, SD = 1.2), were recruited from psychology courses. Utilizing a computer-administered questionnaire, participants were randomly assigned to rate a fictitious student whose family income was specified as among the lowest or highest at the college. Upper Income targets were rated as more sociable, judgmental, attractive, more likely to use alcohol and drugs, and more likely to belong to a fraternity or sorority. Lower Income targets were rated as more likable, agreeable, conscientious, intelligent, creative, and better able to maintain close friendships. Research directed toward the middle class could help fill a gap in the classism literature. Research on classism in higher education could clarify this potentially divisive issue among undergraduates.

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