Psychology of Poverty: Attitude Change Via Service-Learning


  • Timothy Caswell Department of Psychology and Counseling Gannon University 109 University Square – MS 23 Erie, PA 16501


The goal of the current study was to test the effectiveness of service-learning on attitudes toward poverty. Students enrolled in a senior level capstone course at a liberal arts college completed a standard measure of poverty attitudes at the beginning and the end of the semester, during which, they completed thirty hours of community service at agencies serving the urban poor. The participants showed significant increases in sympathetic attitudes on three of six dimensions of attitudes toward poverty. These findings suggest that the combination of traditional academic study and personal exposure to poverty and the poor may produce changes in attitudes toward poverty.