Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Terry Besser


This qualitative study developed theory while investigating the meaning college students' attributed to interaction with young immigrant children through a service learning program and how the interaction reduced their prejudice. Based on the grounded theory methodology, thirty-one in-depth interviews of college graduates who had been involved in the program were coded and analyzed to develop four significant themes resulting in theory development. Participants demonstrated fear of differences with their immigrant partners upon starting the interactions, they worked to develop relationships which resulted in gaining new perspectives and reducing reported prejudice. This integrated theory of prejudice reduction through service learning concurs with contact theory but additionally extends it by exploring the specific one-on-one relationship building indicated as important in the outcomes. The resulting themes were triangulated through content analysis of journal entries, inter-rater coding of journal entries and interview transcripts, and a survey measuring prejudiced opinion levels compared to a control group. Recommendations are directed to colleges and universities, college students, and community agencies as result of the developed theory.

Copyright Owner

Carolyn Elizabeth Dallinger



File Format


File Size

170 pages