Holly Hart

Holly Hart

Truman State University



Mentor: Dr. Marla Brettschneider, Assistant Professor of Political Science & Women's Studies with Dr. Kimberly Smirles, Post-Doctoral Student

The Effects of Target Sexual Orientation and Religiosity on Assessment of Adoption Relevant Variables

Homophobia refers to negative beliefs and attitudes towards homosexuals. Homophobia and other attitudes towards homosexuals serve as topics for an expanding body of research whose findings are often inconclusive or contradictory. The majority of research in this area has utilized only correlational data. Little or no research has examined the ramifications of manipulating the religiosity of a target, rather than assessing those of the participant. This study addressed these omissions by experimentally examining the effects of target religiosity and sexual orientation on participants' ratings of homosexual and heterosexual couples. A sample of 157 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students from a large east coast university read one of six vignettes describing a couple interested in adopting a child. The vignettes listed several demographics about the couple such as occupation, age, and income, which were held constant while the independent variables (sexual orientation and religiosity) were manipulated across conditions. The target couple was described as either homosexual or heterosexual, and one of three levels of religiosity: religious, non-religious, or atheist. Participants then completed a 14 item questionnaire that assessed their rating of the couple as capable parents. Results may indicate that participants were more likely to view religiosity as a determining factor of parent fitness than sexual orientation.

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