Open Access Thesis
University of Northern Iowa -- Students -- Attitudes, Welfare recipients -- Public opinion, College students -- Iowa -- Cedar Falls -- Attitudes
The purpose of this study was to discover if university students use victim blaming explanations to gain understanding as to why someone receives welfare assistance. A sub-problem in this study was to discover the extent that university students employ individualistic, familial, structural, and fatalistic explanations in their attempts to comprehend why some families are recipients of welfare. Also, the study attempted to find if relationships exist between victim blaming and other personal characteristics such as cultural estrangement, social criticism, affiliation, income, and political orientation.
The subjects of this study were 245 individuals attending the University of Northern Iowa, both graduates and undergraduates, who resided in on campus housing such as residence halls and married/graduate housing. They were randomly selected from a list of students who resided in on campus housing.
The data were collected using a mailed questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of four parts. The first part gathered information on victim blaming and social criticism. The second part gathered information on affiliation. The third part gathered information on cultural estrangement. The fourth part was devoted to demographic questions relating to the hypotheses.
Responses were analyzed by comparing the subjects' likelihood of using victim blaming attitudes with cultural estrangement, social criticism, affiliation, family income, and political orientation. It was expected that the likelihood of a university student using victim blaming reasoning would increase as cultural estrangement, social criticism, or affiliation went down. It was also expected that students with higher family incomes would be more likely than those with lower family incomes to use victim blaming attitudes toward welfare recipients. Furthermore, it was anticipated that students with a conservative political orientation would be more inclined to use victim blaming attitudes toward welfare recipients.
The results of the study indicated that most of the students used victim blaming interpretations for explaining why someone receives welfare payments. Male students were more likely than female students to use victim blaming attitudes toward welfare recipients. Furthermore, the data revealed that a student who is not critical of American society is more likely to use victim blaming attitudes toward welfare recipients. Also, the data showed that students with a conservative political orientation are more likely to use victim blaming attitudes toward welfare recipients.
Year of Submission
Master of Arts
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology
Ron E. Roberts, Chair
1 PDF file (viii, 121 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm)
©1996 Glen Leonard Lantz
Lantz, Glen Leonard, "An exploratory look at university students' attitudes toward welfare recipients" (1996). Dissertations and Theses @ UNI. 1399.