The Effect of an Introductory Peacebuilding Class on Attitudes Toward Social Justice


Social justice advocacy is a term in which individuals are both aware of the “injustices and inequities” of certain populations and are engaged in creating a just and equitable experience for individuals (Bemak & Chung, 2005). This study aimed to measure the effect of an introductory undergraduate Peacebuilding course on students’ advocacy for social justice. A Social Justice scale designed by Torres-Harding, Siers, and Olson (2011) was utilized to measure social justice scores both before and after completion of the course. A significant increase in social justice scores was found after completion of the class t(47) = 1.50, p =.07, one tailed, cohen’s D = .21. Those with more interpersonal empathy were found to favor more government interaction which led us to identify changes in attitude amongst political affiliation (Wagaman & Segal, 2014). The class significantly increases Conservative’s belief that it is important to talk to others about societal systems of power, privilege, and oppression t(24) = -1.44, p = 0.08, one-tailed, Cohen’s D = 0.29. Though only marginally significant, these results are still valid as per to Ward, Greenhill, and Bakke’s suggestion to not utilize the .05 restriction in peace studies but to instead look for good effect sizes. These findings also support Haidt and Graham (2007) who say that conservatives rely upon all five of the foundations of psychological preparedness. These results provide evidence that an introductory peace building class can have a major effect upon different individuals and their social justice attitudes.

Author Information
Maxwell Brieden, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States
Alyx Stuehler, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States
Miiko Toussaint, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States
Ronald Mellado Miller, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States
Boyd Timothy, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States
Chad Ford, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States
David Whippy, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2017
Stream: Community Development

This paper is part of the ACP2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon