Does the American Dream Effect Peoples View on Poverty?

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This study was conducted by Deborah A. Abowitz a professor from Bucknell University. Social mobility throughout the United States is the focus of this study. The researchers take a deeper look into understanding what college students actually think. They want to know if the American Dream is still relevant in their lives. They begin to refer to the American Dream as an equivalent to having an achievement ideology. They look into the students who have an achievement ideology and how open-minded they are in the belief in the American class system. They discuss the topics such as if fairness in the class system, justifiable difference, education and its effects, and are connections important in one’s success. Throughout the beginning of the article, they discuss the differences in eras. Baby boomers versus millennials/Gen Y. Baby boomers grew up in a time where education was not as important when trying to find a career. In comparison to the generation now where the need for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is crucial to one’s success. They also note the difference in beliefs of high school students in comparison to college students. Throughout high school the encouragement from your teachers to work hard is undeniable. Since this is the case it can create an achievement ideology to where if you work hard you are going to be successful. Contrary to high school students, college students are taught to critically think, and this is where they begin to understand that even if you work hard there is a possibility that you can still fall short.

In order to perform this study, the researchers used 154 undergrads that were 60% male and 40% female. In order to gauge student’s opinion on whether or not they believe in the American dream they used a five-point Likert scale system that consists of rating 8 different items. They have concluded that these students do in fact believe in the American Dream. In order to address whether or not students believe in the American class system as something that can be described as fair was then assessed through a correlational study. Through this correlation, they have seen relationships of achievement ideology and American dream with social mobility. Although they did not find anything that relates to the position of class you hold with your success rates. However, they did find significance in how your family can have an impact on your success. This study also looks at how your economic status can affect your views on poverty and the class system as well. Overall this study went in depth to find out what college students believe. However, the limitations of the study were issues with the sample as a whole. Not only was the size small but the demographics of the students were not generalizable. The researchers suggest broadening the sample size in ways such as studying multiple different colleges and different types of colleges. They also suggest doing not just undergrads but graduate students as well. Overall the study had important significance and was well conducted.

Millersville University School of Social Works Jennifer M Frank and Karen Rice look to see how they are able to use a characteristic such as social empathy in order to influence the attitudes on the poor. To begin they discuss the values of Americans. They note that Americans are highly concerned with themselves and their own success. Since this is the case with some Americans they typically lack important characteristics such as compassion towards the poor. They also discussed an important influence on today's society which is social media. They explain that if we use our social media platforms wisely they can have a positive impact on the attitudes towards the poor, but it also goes vice versa if used in a negative way. This study specifically looks into a group of social work undergrads and tests out a new course they have decided to implement into their university program of social work.

The course that they have developed is called "Perceptions on Poverty in America". Throughout the course, they discuss the structural issues that Americans face on a daily basis that prevent them from living a life above the poverty line. They attempt to gauge student's perspectives on poverty prior to the course to get a better understanding of how they already view poverty. Throughout the course, the goal is to get students to empathize and recognize the poor. They discuss real-life situations as well as watch movies that give a good glimpse of what poverty looks like. They have also integrated a game that gets students to really engage and critically think. They have students play monopoly but emulate the inequality in the United States through the game. They also require the students to do 20 hours of community service throughout the course. In order to run the study, they gave a pre and posttest to the 23 participating social work undergrads. They saw a shift in perception but overall there was no statistical significance within the study. With this study, the researchers recognize the limitations they faced. Such as the sample size was too small, and they also recognized that the course they implemented was too general and did not look at enough of the specifics that could have an effect.

The following study combines serval different researchers from a variety of different accredited school. This study takes into account the socio-economic status of college students. It takes a look at the difference between the high-SES students and the low-SES students, and how their college experiences differ. It discusses how there are many reasons why these two groups differ so much. They look into psychological barriers that low-SES students face on a daily basis. Not only psychological barriers, but they also look at how the structure of the universities can hinder or benefit college students experience depending on their economic status.

The research has connected both psychological barriers and university structures to contributing to the negative effects that the low-SES students face on a day to day basis. They also have provided three interventions that may be able to change those negative effects. They have found consistency with these interventions that they do help the low-SES students feel more comfortable, confident, and legit in a university setting. Although these interventions may have worked, this study has a few limitations that will need to be done for future research. They have suggested more research to be done on the university and its offerings to the students. They are aware the university may have more of an influence then their study has found. Lastly, they have suggested for future research to have more students, but also take a look into the students studied during their college years as well as post-college.

This is an example of how Boston College has conducted a study that looks at how views on poverty can be changed through community service learning. This study consists of students participating in their Pulse Program. This is a program where students go to it as a class, but also are required to do 10-12 hours of community service a week to wherever they are assigned too. This study looks at the views of poverty with their students prior to the program as well as after. They also discuss how certain demographics of a person have an impact on their views.

This study is a longer study following these students through a whole semester of college. Although this study was longer and pre and post surveys were given the sample sizes stayed very consistent throughout. This allowed them to get a better understanding of their study. The reason they were able to keep the sample size pretty consistent is the fact that taking the surveys pre and post was a part of the program. This study showed a change in attitudes of pulse participants particularly in the attitudes and views towards poverty. The views such as individualistic ideology and structural ideology. The pulse students began to understand the more structural view of poverty after the program was completed. They have also found main effects within the constant variables of the students. Such as gender, race, religion, etc. Although the researchers are aware of the possible limitations faced. They discuss how the groups being studied had very different sample sizes between experimental and control, because of this the stats could be affected. They also are aware that Boston College is catholic as well as very hard to get into. This limits their ability to give general findings because the average college student would not fall into the sample they have studied. Although their findings were significant, the study would be better conducted at a larger and more diverse school.

This article is written by Kenneth T. Wang, Antonio J. Castro, and Yu Li Cunningham, and is from the University of Missouri. It takes a look in depth on how certain personality traits and characteristics of a person have the ability to affect one's cultural sensitivity. They look at 239 white undergrads that are going to be future teachers. Within the 239 students, the sample consists of 204 women and 35 men. They specifically look at how perfectionism, individualism, and racial color-blindness have an effect on the cultural sensitivity of a person.

This study uses a variety of scales in order to assess each personality trait and characteristic of the person. They use six well-known scales in order to get an in-depth understanding they are looking for. They use the CDAI (Cultural Diversity Awareness inventory) scale, the ASP-R (Almost Perfect Scale-Revised) scale, INDCOL (The Individualism-Collectivism Scale, Co-BRAS (Color-Blind Racial Attitude) scale, and MCSDS (Marlowe and Crowne Social Desirability) scale. All these scales provide an in-depth look into how these characteristics of a person can affect one’s openness to cultural diversity. An overall result that they have found is that women are more prone to be aware of cultural diversity in comparison to men. Overall this study was strategically designed with many scales that provides significance, no significance, interactions, and main effects in order to get a better understanding. Although, within the study, they were aware of the limitations addressing that this was a cross-sectional design and could have been more helpful using an experimental design instead. Although the results they have found a reference that these ideologies do in fact have an effect on the sensitivity they do advise future studies to assess more on the individuals' cognitive mind.

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Does the American Dream Effect Peoples View on Poverty?. (2021, Feb 26). Retrieved February 26, 2024 , from

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