Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Prejudice against lesbian women and gay men is widespread. Intolerance ranges from negative beliefs to exclusion from mainstream society, denial of civil rights and legal protection, as well as harassment and physical violence. Furthermore, it is socially acceptable to hold negative attitudes toward this group. There is no condemnation for doing so, unlike the case with racism. Given the extent of oppression faced by lesbians and gay men, research on attitude change is critical.

This study explored the characteristics of college students that contribute to negative attitudes toward lesbians and gay men, and investigated whether Rokeach’s method of self-confrontation is a useful intervention for attitude change. Students (N = 293) from introductory sociology classes comprised norm, experimental, and control groups. The following instruments were used in pretest and posttest conditions: the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS), the Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men (ATLG) Scale, three questions to assess the amount and type (positive or negative) of contact with lesbians and gay men, and a demographic questionnaire. The experimental group intervention consisted of a modified version of the method of self-confrontation.

Multiple regression analysis showed that the following factors contributed to attitudes toward lesbians and gay men: size of home town, positive contact, negative contact, and the RVS value Equality. Results of LISREL path analysis showed statistically significant treatment effects. Attitudes changed in the desired direction; however, the method of self-confrontation was not supported, as attitude change did not coincide with value change. The positive change in attitudes toward lesbian women and gay men was interpreted in terms of the effects of analyzing reasons for attitude change and the moderating role of attitude accessibility.