Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Second Advisor

Dr. Helenan Lewis

Third Advisor

Dr. Edsel Erickson


This research was designed to assess college students' attitudes toward affirmative action policies for non-whites and women. As suggested by a review of the literature, five hypotheses were posited as possible factors related to attitudes toward antidiscrimination public policies. In addition, seven demographic variables were examined as control variables.

This study indicated that the majority of respondents were most in favor of equal opportunity and least in favor of discrimination-in-reverse. However, there were significant differences toward affirmative action based on the race and sex of the respondents. Non-whites overwhelmingly supported discrimination-in-reverse and did not favor equal opportunity. The converse was true for white respondents. Men favored discriminating against females whereas women respondents opposed female discrimination. These results were supportive of a theoretical construct of group conflict over values developed herein this dissertation. Additionally, three other factors were partially substantiated as being related to attitudes toward affirmative action. A respondent's awareness that dominant groups had received special treatment was found to be positively related to attitudes toward preferential treatment and discrimination-in-reverse.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Sociology Commons