Date of Award

Summer 5-3-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Pam Foley, PhD

Committee Member

John Smith, PhD

Committee Member

Daniel Cruz, PhD

Committee Member

Christopher Gates, PhD

Keywords

Attitudes, Gay, Lesbian, Contact Hypothesis, Military

Abstract

This study examined the impact of contact with gay men and lesbians on attitudes toward gay men and lesbians in the military. Specifically, this study examined the extent to which heterosexual civilians’ quantity of contact and quality of contact with gay men and lesbians predict their attitudes toward gay men and lesbians in the military over and above demographic traits and social desirability.

An online survey was administered to participants (N = 140). Attitudes toward gay men and lesbians were measure using the Attitudes Toward Homosexuals in the Military Scale (ATHM), quantity of contact and quality of contact were measured by the Quantity of Contact with Gay Men and Lesbians Scale and the Quality of Contact with Gay Men and Lesbians Scale, respectively. Social desirability was measured by the Social Desirability Response Set (SDRS).

Hierarchical regression results revealed increased quality of contact with gay men and lesbians as predictive of more positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians in the military. Results support contact hypothesis literature suggesting it is not the amount, or quantity of contact, but rather the quality of contact, that predicts attitude change toward members of an out-group. Additionally, results support previous research indicating both women and individuals with liberal political ideology report more positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians in the military. Findings are presented relative to extant literature; implications and directions for future research are presented.

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