A comparison of religious affiliation and personal values of college students attending a private Christian university
Meyer, Janet L
MetadataShow full item record
The current climate of religious higher education indicates growing diversity on campuses, with influences that threaten to alter the culture that exists within an institution that is closely tied to a religious denomination. While a religiously-affiliated institution may support and sustain certain desirable values, does increased diversity of denominational affiliation of students serve to change those values? Or does the peer culture of the university work to reinforce the desirable values? This study examined the personal values of college students attending a private Christian university that is affiliated with a particular religious denomination. The purpose of this study was to compare the religious affiliation and the personal values prioritizations of college students attending a private Christian university to determine what, if any, personal values congruence exists between students who professed to share the institution's religious affiliation and those who did not. The religious affiliation of the students was self-reported and divided into two categories: (1) affiliated, describing those students who professed to share the same religious affiliation as the institution, and (2) non-affiliated, describing those students who professed a different religious affiliation than that of the institution. Personal values prioritizations were determined by students rank ordering of the 18 terminal and 18 instrumental values of the Rokeach Value Survey, Form D (1973). Demographic categories of gender, age, ethnicity, and length of time at the university were examined for similarities and differences. A two group design was implemented, with 200 students each in the affiliated and non-affiliated groups. Mail surveys were sent to each student. One hundred twenty-two surveys were returned, 62 from the affiliated group and 60 from the non-affiliated group. Affiliated and non-affiliated students prioritized Rokeach's terminal and instrumental value similarly. None of the 36 values was ranked significantly different by the two groups. Statistical analysis using the median test indicated no significant difference between affiliated and non-affiliated students for the terminal values or instrumental values. These findings suggest Benne's (2001) and Burtchaell's (1998) descriptions of the effects of secularization and ecumenicalism toward a loss of distinctiveness among religiously affiliated institutions are accurate and worthy of continued study.