Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Margaret Rogers

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore first year college student’s attitudes and beliefs towards transgender people and whether high school sexual health curricula are related to the development of these beliefs. This study examined attitudes that current first year college students hold towards transgender people. The students were probed to recall whether they were exposed to comprehensive sexual health curricula versus abstinence-only curricula. A second purpose was to examine if their participation in their high school Gay-Straight-Alliances (GSA) predicted their attitudes towards transgender people as measured on the three scales of the Transgender Attitude and Belief Scale (TABS): Interpersonal Comfort, Sex/Gender Beliefs, and Human Value. Results indicated that attitudes of students who participated in a comprehensive sexual health curriculum was significantly related to participants’ positive ratings of Human Value. After controlling for potential confounding variables, such as the participants’ sexual orientation, results indicated that student attitudes towards transgender people’s Human Value were significantly impacted by the exposure to comprehensive sexual health curriculum. After controlling for potential confounds, there was no significant interaction between the presence of a GSA, or participation in a GSA, and attitudes towards transgender people. Study limitations and future directions for research are explored.

Available for download on Friday, May 21, 2021

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