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Can Positive Exposure Affect Overall Attitude Toward LGBTQ Persons?
    Dominique M Rougeau     McNeese State University
    Hanna Marie Rodriguez     McNeese State University
    Bianca Augustine     McNeese State University

Tolerance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer populations has increased in recent years. However, research has not revealed whether the content of brief positive exposure of the populations through audio/visual mediums and lecture style presentations will significantly improve attitudes. Recent research by Huston and Waite (2008) concluded that a 1 ½ hour intervention with lecture style and video treatment was not effective in changing attitudes towards LGBT people, but suggested that changes in the content and presentation of LBGTQ issues through these mediums might increase attitudes. These changes could include a more structured style of lecture and discussion of discrimination and misconceptions regarding LGBTQ issues. The current study evaluated the difference in attitudes with and without exposure to issues, data, and personal stories pertaining to lesbian, gay, transgender/transsexual, and queer persons.

Thirty-two undergraduate students at McNeese State University, with an average age of 23.59, completed this study for extra credit on their psychology courses. They were recruited through sign-ups sheets and then randomly assigned to one of two conditions.
Sessions for both experimental and control groups lasted for 30 to 35 minutes. After signing consent forms, the experimental group (n =16) and the control group (n =16) were exposed to lectures and a video presentation. The experimental groupís presentation focused on LGBTQ issues, discrimination, and myths regarding LGBTQ persons whereas the control groupís presentation focused on topics pertaining to sound waves and photography. After the presentations, participants in both groups then completed the Homosexuality Attitude Scale (Kite and Deaux, 1986). Participants were then debriefed and released from the study.

The mean attitude score for the experimental group (M=84.81) was higher than the mean for the control group (M=81.56). However, a one-tailed t test analysis revealed that this difference was not statistically significant (t=.7089; p= 0.05).

Despite the lack of statistical significance, the trend in group means did suggest that our intervention had a minimal impact on attitude scores. Previous research utilized a longer intervention (e.g., 1 ½ hours), so it is possible our intervention was too brief. Furthermore, intervention may be more effective if presented over multiple sessions, with the addition of a pre-test/ post-test analysis. Finally, it is our goal in future studies to contract the help of LGBTQ students belonging to Prism, the gay-straight student alliance group on campus to discuss personal stories and to organize a panel style discussion with an open forum about LBGTQ issues.

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