Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purpose of this study is to discover the effect of a voluntary association on the individual's political behavior, attitudes, and values. If the process of internalizing norms, attitudes and values of the association does occur, it should occur in relation to the various types of psychological membership segments of the relationship-space model. In addition, the purpose of the study is to relate the membership segments of the r-space model to reference group theory.

The voluntary associations of Grand Forks, listed with the Chamber of Commerce, were grouped according to the classification scheme of Gordon and Babchuk: degree of accessibility; status conferring capacity; and the function of the association. This scheme must be modified by subjective determination of the values and orientation of the associations. From this cluster of associations, four voluntary associations were selected for study. The entire membership of the voluntary association received a mailed questionnaire.

The hypothesis that the membership segments are significantly related to the attitude orientation, values, and political behavior received some support. In addition, membership segments appear to function as reference groups to some degree and this received slight support from the data collected. In conclusion, a voluntary association can be represented by the r-space model. Membership in a voluntary association can be formal and psychological which indicates the presence of membership segments. Voluntary associations affect individual behavior, but the degree is dependent to some slight extent on the membership segment of the individual.