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Title: Head or heart : promoting attitude change towards homosexuality
Author: Robertson, Jacqueline M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 8497
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2013
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The need for increased awareness, knowledge, and skills in lesbian and gay issues has been well documented (Athanases & Larrabee, 2003; Goldstein, 1997; Robinson & Ferfolja, 2001, 2002; Sears, 1992). While Stevenson (1988) noted that educational interventions could produce changes in participants' attitudes towards homosexuality, there is some indication that initial teacher training programs do not adequately prepare students to incorporate issues of difference into their pedagogical practices (Hatton, 2004). Empirical assessment of interventions designed to impact students' attitudes and beliefs concerning those who are lesbian or gay have produced inconsistent results. These inconsistencies were addressed by Buhrke, Ben-Ezra, Hurley, and Rupert (1992) who found a lack of theoretically based empirical examinations. Conceptualising heterosexuals' negative attitudes toward homosexuality as sexual prejudice rather than homophobia links the study of antigay hostility with the rich tra dition of social psychological research on prejudice. The contact hypothesis, originally formulated by Allport (1954), proposes that intergroup contact under optimal conditions can reduce negative attitudes toward out-groups. Optimal conditions include the opportunity for emotional involvement (Dividio et al. 2002). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the impact of cognitive versus experiential interventions on (would-be) student teachers attitudes towards homosexuality. Epstein's (1994) cognitive-experiential self-theory provides the theoretical background for this study. A pragmatic use of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies provided a deeper insight. Firstly, a quasi-experimental design was employed to examine the differential effects of rational versus experiential workshop interventions on attitudes towards homosexuality. A convenience sample of fifty-six participants were randomly allocated to one of two experimental groups, to take part in the experiential workshop or the rational workshop. A further convenience sample of twenty-eight participants were allocated to a control group. Massey's (2009) multidimensional measure of sexual prejudice was adapted and subsequently used to assess the attitude change across seven dimensions: Traditional Heterosexism; Aversion Towards Gay Men; Aversion Towards Gay Women; Denial of Continued Discrimination; Value Gay Progress; Resist Heteronormativity and; Positive Belief. Change score methodology was employed to analyse the changes in attitudes towards homosexuality across the three groups. Paired t-test statistics revealed a significant decrease in attitudes towards homosexuality for participants in the experiential intervention (t=6.108;p=0.001). A significant increase in attitudes towards homosexuality was found for the participants in the rational intervention (t= -2.458; p= 0.049) There was no significant difference found for the control group (t=-0.861; p=0.422). A qualitative phase was then added to provide collaborative data and give further insight into participants attitudes towards homosexuality. Thirty participants from the two experimental groups were randomly selected. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using stimulus scenarios to elicit a response. Twenty of the interviews were randomly selected and transcribed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available