College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph R. Ferrari, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Theresa Luhrs, Ph.D.


In light of the recent economic downturn, poverty is an issue of increasing concerns. Attitudes towards individuals living in poverty, as well as explanations for poverty, vary and may be influenced by contextual factors, such as media portrayals, culture, and exposure. Attitudes and explanations for poverty among undergraduate students were compared among undergraduates (n = 268) who had varying amount of exposure (volunteering and socioeconomic status) to poverty. Three 2x3x3 ANOVAs demonstrated no significant three-way interactions between campus ministry engagement, volunteer hours, and self-identified socioeconomic status on three subscales of the Undergraduate Perceptions of Poverty Tracking Attitudes Survey (UPPTS). However, there was one significant two-interaction on the Basic Rights subscale of the UPPTS between volunteer hours and self-identified socioeconomic status, as well as a significant main effect for the Need to do More subscale of the UPPTS. Implications suggest that exposure to poverty may influence attitudes and explanations for poverty, although other factors that were not measured in this study (e.g., culture) may be more salient.