Author

John A. Frank

Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

In this study, participants who vary in their level of religious fundamentalism were exposed to different interventions designed to change their attitudes toward homosexuals. The interventions involved writing a few paragraphs about positive gay figures in society or thinking about a passage from the Bible about acceptance. Their attitudes toward homosexuals were measured using the Implicit Association Test and Herek's Attitudes toward Gay and Lesbian scale. They also completed some behavioral intention measures that examined how their attitudes relate to their behaviors. It was hypothesized that short- term contact with an admired outgroup member would change the negative attitudes or behavioral intentions of people who scored low on a scale of religious fundamentalism but would have no effect on the negative attitudes of people who score high on religious fundamentalism. However, writing about lessons from the Bible that promote acceptance should temporarily reduce their negative attitudes and make their behavior more positive toward homosexuals. Although there were correlations found between religious fundamentalism and negative attitudes toward homosexuals, the main hypotheses were not supported. The interventions had no significant effect on the attitudes and behavioral intentions of any of the participants. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

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