The effects of homophobia, legislation, and local policies on heterosexual pupil services professionals' likelihood of incorporating gay affirming behaviors in their professional work with sexual minority youths in public schools
Degree Granting Department
Psychological and Social Foundations
George Batsche, Ed.D.
Homosexuality, Attitudes, Lesbian, Counseling, Bias
Research suggests that non-judgmental, unbiased counseling (that includes an advocacy component) is effective in addressing the psycho-social needs of sexual minority youths--a population of students considered at-risk (Reynolds & Koski, 1994; Savin-Williams, 1994). The ability to provide such services is impeded if the clinician has not first come to terms with his or her own feelings and attitudes about homosexuality (Pederson, 1988). This study examined the attitudes and anticipated professional behaviors relevant to sexual minority youths of 309 pupil services professionals in the fields of school psychology, school social work, school nursing, and school counseling. Participants from two regions of the US (Florida and New Jersey) responded to a survey comprising a homophobia measure and a measure of anticipated professional behavior toward sexual minority youths, and questionnaires collecting demographic information.
Results of multiple regression analysis, with the significance level set at .05, indicated that levels of homophobic bias were positively correlated with political conservatism (r = .52), high religiosity (r = .51), and lower education levels (r = .30) among the participants. Furthermore, a backward elimination model predicting biased professional behaviors toward sexual minority youths was significant (p = .001). Results indicated that those less likely to employ gay affirming professional behaviors were more politically conservative (p = .001) than those more likely to do so. Implications of this study suggest that even among these counseling professionals, personal ideologies and dogmatic belief systems could potentially impede many of their ability or willingness to advocate in behalf of sexual minority students. Training efforts, therefore, should assist these professionals in distinguishing between their personal ideologies with regard to sexual orientation diversity and their professional responsibility to serve the needs of all students.
Scholar Commons Citation
Smith, Lance Santoro, "The effects of homophobia, legislation, and local policies on heterosexual pupil services professionals' likelihood of incorporating gay affirming behaviors in their professional work with sexual minority youths in public schools" (2007). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.