Gayle Robbins

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The effects of exposure to a post-secondary educational environment on attitudes and values was assessed utilizing a cross-sectional research design. Four hundred sixty-two participants completed the Schwartz Value Survey and a social distance scale. Of these, 56 were first and second year undergraduates, 57 were third and fourth year undergraduates, 85 were masters level graduate students, 77 were doctoral level graduate students, 96 were non-tenured faculty and 91 were tenured faculty. It was hypothesized that students and entry level faculty would undergo a socialization processes which would include changes in attitudes and values consistent with established tenured faculty. Oneway ANOVAs with Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference test provided partial support for these hypotheses, indicating attitude and value differences among groups. It was also hypothesized that men and women would undergo a different developmental process in regard to attitudes and value change. Factorial 2 x 6 ANOVA was non-significant, providing no support for this hypothesis. Regression analyses for each of the six groups were conducted to better understand the influence of values on the attitude of social distance. The value 'conservation' and 'self-transcendence' contributed significantly in the majority of the equations. Theories about attitude and value change, student development, and theories of socialization are reviewed. The results of this study seem to support previous research that suggests college does have a liberalizing effect on students. Implications specific to the results of this research are examined, as are the limitations inherent in the research design. Although the present study helps clarify the values involved in the change process for this sample, the need for additional research is addressed.

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