Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Lester Carr


The need for a more growth oriented, phenomenological approach to social action, served as the stimulus for this investigation. The objectives of the study were (1) to provide empirical validation of the relatively new Purpose In Like (PIL) scale by its use with specific; (2) to explore some of the social-psycho-logical determinants of n individual's involvement in social issues; and (3) to compare the PIL with self concept factors Osgood's Semantic Differential. The subjects were 300 students from a predominately Negro high school and from two liberal arts colleges located in the South. A group of 195 subjects was randomly chosen from this larger sample and were placed in one of 13 different groups, corresponding to their "known" level of commitment to social action. Various criteria were established for placement in a particular group. The PIL and the Semantic Differential were then administered to all subjects.

An analysis of variance revealed no significant difference between civil rights demonstrators and non-demonstrators on the PIL scale. However, significant differences between races and consistent sex differences, suggesting women were apparently finding more meaning and purpose than men in civil rights demonstrations, was obtained and possible explanations were discussed. An analysis of variance also revealed no evidence that degree of participation in civil rights as measured by the PIL was related to the individual's degree of commitment to social action. Finally, Pearson product moment correlations between the PIL and the Semantic Differential supported the hypothesis, that the PIL scale was partly a measure of one's self concept. In discussing the findings, particular attention was focused on the role of social situational field forces as important variables in determining social action behavior. Consideration of the results provided some further understanding of present race riots in United States communities and related to their occurrence and curtailment not to changing a myth called the "Negro personality", but to effecting broad socio-economic and political modifications.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.