Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Beck, T. (2014). "Influences on Student Attitudes About U.S. Involvement in Nation-Building." MA thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Political Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Patrice McMahon. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Tobin C. Beck


How do college students form opinions about a complex foreign policy issue such as U.S. involvement in nation-building? My study shows that in 2012, students identifying as conservative tended to support nation-building in proportion to their perception of the strength of their own and their parents' conservatism. The association between perception of conservatism and support for nation-building was statistically significant in 2012, although there was no statistically significant overall association between student political ideology and support for U.S. involvement in nation-building. However, a relationship between conservative student perception of ideology and support for nation-building was not detected in 2011 data. The results suggest that students rely asymmetrically on clusters of factors in reaching opinions about complex issues, and that these factors may be latent until activated by some triggering mechanism.

Advisor: Patrice McMahon