Ahmad Heydari

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Geoffrey W. Grant


This research study has four goals: 1) to assess the presence, or the lack, of social distance between American and international students at South Dakota State University (S.D. S. U.); 2) to determine which factors most influence American· students' social distance from international students; 3) to determine if church attendence is related to American students' social distance from international students; 4) to assess the strength of social learning and conflict perspectives for understanding and explaining social distance. The data for this research were collected from American undergraduate students at S. D.S. U. Quantitative statistical procedures were used to analyze the data. The most important findings are as follows. Social distance exists between American and international students at S. D. S. U. The study shows the chances for social distance decrease as American students' interaction with international students increases. The research indicates that 44.9 percent of American students have interaction with international students as roommates, neighbors and friends. There was no significant difference between students reporting high or low church attendence with regard to their social distance from international students, but the means show that students with low church attendence have less social distance from international students. female students have more international friends, and less social distance than do male students. Students with a greater perception of scarce resources, such as competition for grades, exhibit a greater degree of social distance from international students. It is concluded that both learning and conflict approaches contribute to the understanding of social distance. A synthesis of these perspectives is presented.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Students, Foreign -- South Dakota
College students -- South Dakota -- Attitudes
Culture conflict -- South Dakota
Ethnic relations



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University