Homophobia among University Students The term homophobia, sometimes referred to as homonegativity and sexual prejudice, refers to an unreasonable fear, avoidance, and discrimination of homosexuals. Society has greatly changed their views on homosexuality over the years, yet homophobia still exists today. Extensive research has been conducted on homosexuality and how it affects our society. A previous study aimed at measuring homophobia examined literature on the topic since 1987.
It was found that while society has seen a reduction in homophobia over the past twenty five years, discrimination still remains to be an issue (Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). Another study was conducted at a university that examined the impact of college sexuality classes on students’ attitudes toward homosexuality. This study used a comparison group and had participants of both groups take two surveys, one at the beginning of the semester and one at the end.
This study found that a sexuality curriculum can help to reduce homophobia by exposing students to accurate information (Rogers, McRee & Arntz, 2009). However there continues to be issues with measuring such a sensitive theme for reasons such as, measuring an attitude is difficult to do, and acquiring honest responses can also be a challenge. The present study aims at measuring homophobia among university students by asking a wide range of questions around the central theme. Methods Participants
Participants were ( ) male and ( ) female undergraduate psychology students from a California university. Materials A survey was developed around six main themes. Those sixt themes were then divided among six groups, three in each lab, and each group developed five to ten questions that would measure their assigned theme, and research five to ten more questions from research articles. Seventeen questions were developed to measure homophobia. One question asked if marriage between homosexual individuals is acceptable.
Another question asked whether homosexual couples are as qualified to raise children as heterosexual couples. Another question asked the participant if they would end a friendship upon discovering a friend was gay. Most answers were presented on a likert scale, using anchors 1=strongly agree; 2=agree; 3=neither agree nor disagree; 4=disagree; 5=strongly disagree. 1=strongly agree; 2=agree; 3=neither agree nor disagree; 4=disagree; 5=strongly disagree. However to ensure increased reliability, some questions were deleted and replaced with new ones and the survey was administered a second time.
Procedure The survey was posted on psychsurveys. org for three days. Participants were emailed a link to access to and complete the survey. After the survey was complete, a reliability analysis was done, and some of the questions were replaced with new ones. Participants then had another three days to log back into the survey and re-take it. Results Discussion In order to increase this scale’s reliability, a larger survey should be used in the future to assess homophobia, with more in depth questions about feelings and attitudes around homophobia.
Directly asking participants whether or not they are homophobic would create a floor effect because it is unlikely that anyone would identify themselves as homophobic. Instead, many carefully thought out questions should be used. Developing questions to assess a feeling like homophobia is a difficult task. Questions need to be worded in such a precise way as to not lead the participant into answering untruthfully. Questions need to be neutral so that the participant does not feel pressured to answer a certain way.
In addition, the answer format was not ideal for all questions in the homophobia section of the survey. Answers were mostly reported on a likert scale for statistical purposes, while open-ended responses may have been more insightful. Furthermore, the sample used in the current study was all college students from California. Had this survey been administered to non-students from a more conservative state, or at a religious gathering, the results that were obtained may have been greatly different. Conclusion References
McCann, P. D. , Minichiello, V. , & Plummer, D. (2009). Is homophobia inevitable? : Evidence that explores the constructed nature of homophobia, and the techniques through which men unlearn it. Journal of Sociology, 45(2), 201-220. Retrieved from http://jos. sagepub. com. libproxy. csun. edu/content/45/2/201. full. pdf html (McCann, Minichiello & Plummer, 2009) Ahmad, S. , & Bhugra, D. (2010). Homophobia: An updated review of the literature. Sexual and relationship therapy, 25(4), 447-455. Retrieved from http://web. bscohost. com. libproxy. csun. edu/ehost/detail? [email protected]&vid=1&hid=122&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ== (Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010) Rogers, A. , McRee, N. , & Arntz, D. (2009). Using a college human sexuality course to combat homophobia. Sex education, 9(3), 211–225. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com. libproxy. csun. edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? [email protected]&vid=1&hid=122 (Rogers, McRee & Arntz, 2009)