Date of Award

Winter 12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Department

Counseling and Human Services

First Advisor

Ram Cnaan, Ph.D., MSW

Second Advisor

Lina Hartocollis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Andrea Doyle, Ph.D.

Abstract

Research has shown that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth have increased rates of physical and mental health problems primarily due to the chronic stress incurred by the levels of prejudice and isolation experienced in their environment, especially in Southern States. Teachers are the most available and sought after adults by sexual minority students, helping them to mitigate such toxic environments. In this study, the aim was to examine the relationship between implicit and explicit attitudes of homonegativity and the moderating role of motivation to control prejudiced reactions among teachers in Southern states. Additional information was gathered about the teachers’ school environment in regard to protective factors that were or were not in place for sexual minority students and possible resources that they perceived would be helpful in establishing a more positive environment for these students. Correlations were found between the Implicit Association Test (IAT), Modern Homonegativity Scale (MHS), and the Internal (IMS) and External (EMS) Motivation to Respond without Prejudice measure among other variables. Further, information was obtained that verified that the majority of these schools lacked needed protective factors to help sexual minority students navigate their environment safely.