Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lisa P. Armistead

Second Advisor

Gabe Kuperminc

Abstract

Sexual prejudice, or negative attitudes toward sexual and gender minority persons, endures in U.S. culture today. A variety of interventions attempt to reduce sexual prejudice on college campuses. This doctoral dissertation project evaluates the adapted Safe Zone Workshop, a university-based sexual prejudice reduction intervention, with 82 students, faculty, and staff from Georgia State University over 13 workshop sessions. Results suggest a significant improvement from pretest to posttest in participants’ broad awareness of oppression. However, no statistically significant change was observed in quantitative data analysis from pretest to posttest in attitude (i.e., sexual prejudice); specific lesbian, gay, and bisexual oppression; knowledge, skills, openness, and support to act as an ally; or behavioral intentions to act as an ally. However, data suggest that the lack of quantitative findings may be due to ceiling effects as participants choosing to take part in the workshop likely have positive and accepting attitudes, knowledge, skills, and intentions before the workshop. Generally, participants reported that they liked specific activities, learning, and gaining resources in the workshop and disliked the physical space, specific activities, and timing of the workshop. Participants suggested ideas for recruitment and advertising as well as other activities to incorporate into and around the intervention. Further, many participants noted that they did experience change as a consequence of the workshop; they reported learning new terms, gaining knowledge, and becoming more comfortable and aware of issues related to gender and sexual minority persons. Therefore, this study adds to the extant literature in that few evaluations have been conducted of Safe Zone programs, fewer that include mixed-methods research on a university campus. Such programs may lead to better attitudes and actions of workshop attendees that may then contribute to safer and more inclusive environments for gender and sexual minority persons on campus.

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