David Haas

Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Anti-intellectualism was first described as a social phenomenon by Richard Hofstadter in 1963 and he defined anti-intellectualism as a negative attitude towards intellectual activities and those who engage in them. Anti-intellectualism refers to student’s lack of interest and disrespect for intellectual pursuits, critical thinking, and a preference for practical memorization style learning and has been observed at all schooling levels including higher education (Trout, 1997). There is a common perception that athletes shun academic pursuits and attend college primarily for athletic opportunities (Balough & Girvan, 2010). The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of anti-intellectual attitudes when comparing the difference between students and student-athletes using an accurate and consistent scale (Eigenberger & Sealander, 2001). Scores on the student anti-intellectualism survey revealed no significant difference between students and student-athletes F(1,240)=.708, p=.401. The extent of this phenomenon was also measured over various strata of university student population using survey data. The findings were at odds with respect to some previous research and in strong agreement with others.