An Intervention to Reduce Social Class Bias on an Elite College Campus

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Sheila Walker

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© 2018 Michelle Blanken


Social class remains a largely unexplored domain of psychological research. While steps have been taken to develop interventions for racism and sexism, no such model exists in regard to class bias. College is one particular context in which it is likely for lower-income students to experience heightened class identity saliency and encounter class-related friction. Prior literature has shown that classism is associated with negative psychosocial and academic outcomes for college students. The proposed intervention is designed to reduce class bias on elite college campuses, where a majority of students come from privileged backgrounds and class tensions are often neglected. Participants will enroll in a for-credit course that will shed light on issues of classism and encourage students to think critically about class-related issues. Effectiveness of the course will be assessed in two ways. Reduction in class bias will be measured using an implicit measure of social class bias. Participants will also complete a self-report measure of awareness of social class issues. Participation in the course is expected to result in decreased class bias and greater awareness of social class issues. Furthermore, it is predicted that awareness of social class issues will mediate the relationship between course participation and reduced class bias. Research findings will have valuable implications for the success and wellbeing of students affected by classism. The proposed study has the potential to bridge class divides within college communities and promote educational equity.

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