The effect of fraternities on the political orientation of undergraduates: a study of reference and membership groups

Krasnow, Rita Jane Moore, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Virginia
Longino, Charles, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Busching, Bruce, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Biggar, Jeanne, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia

The effect of fraternities as both membership and reference groups on political orientation change was measured. It was found that the relative amount of political orientation change over was dependent on the group norm of a student's reference group and on the position he originally occupied in relation to that norm. While previous research has shown that fraternities exert a conservative influence over their members, it was found that this was true only students who were liberal at the time of initial contact with the fraternities as a membership and/or reference group. For those who were conservative at the time of initial contact, fraternities, as a membership group and/or reference group, exerted a liberal influence.

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MA (Master of Arts)
University of Virginia -- Students, Greek letter societies -- Virginia -- Charlottesville
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