Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Award/Availability

Open Access Thesis

Keywords

Sexual minorities--United States--Public opinion; Christians--United States--Attitudes;

Abstract

This thesis examines heterosexual Christian attitudes toward LGB individuals, specifically to determine if there is a relationship between intergroup contact, uncertainty reduction, and supportive attitudes toward LGB individuals among Christian individuals. Participants completed an online survey, which assessed religious beliefs, levels of uncertainty about interactions with LGB individuals, levels of contact with LGB individuals, and attitudes toward LGB individuals. The goal of the research was to identify the current attitudes of heterosexual Christians and the factors that may influence those attitudes. Findings indicate that participants were unsure, but leaned toward valuing the contributions of LGB individuals in society and believing that sexual orientation is a fixed, biologically based trait. The participants were somewhat aware of LGB discrimination and agreed that discrimination exists. Participants reported relatively low levels of communication apprehension toward LGB individuals. Participants who had more contact with LGB individuals had lower levels of uncertainty and more positive attitudes toward LGB individuals. Conservative participants who hold fundamental Christian beliefs had less contact with LGB individuals, were more uncertain about interactions with LGB individuals, and were the least likely to have positive attitudes toward LGB individuals. Liberal participants who hold relativistic religious beliefs had more contact with LGB individuals, were less uncertain about interactions with LGB individuals, and were likely to have the most positive attitudes toward LGB individuals. The findings of the research indicate that the Christian participants have a wide variety of perspectives on homosexuality and LGB individuals. Findings were consistent with past research on intergroup contact, religiosity, and attitudes toward LGB individuals. The research offers new insight into the relationship between contact, religiosity and attitudes by adding the element of uncertainty. Theoretical implications indicate the need to further explore the relationship between the Contact Hypothesis and Uncertainty Reduction Theory within the context of attitudes toward members of groups different than one’s own groups. Practical implications of the research include the need for education among Christians about the nature of sexual orientation and the need for increased awareness of discrimination that LGB individuals face.

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Department of Communication Studies

Department

LGBT Center

First Advisor

April Chatham-Carpenter

Date Original

2013

Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 153 p.)

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

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