“You Really Have to Play With the Hand You’re Dealt”: How Traditional-Aged College Seniors Understand Class Mobility

Sabrina Sullenberger, Leila Wood, Carol Hostetter, Kori R. Bloomquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


This grounded theory study explores how 55 college seniors understand class mobility. Respondents identified family of origin, motivation, and educational attainment as key factors in shaping class mobility. The respondents’ use of narrative story-telling in response to prompts led the research team to develop a grounded theory of class mobility as parallel to playing a hand of poker. Implications for working with college students to increase their understanding of poverty and social mobility are shared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-986
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • class mobility
  • Qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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