An Examination of Homophobia
and Social Work Practice:
Among a Sample of School Social Workers
© 2012
Milka Ramirez, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor/Social Work
Northeastern Illinois University
Email:[email protected]
NASW 2013 Statewide Conference
OUTLINE
 Overview of study
 Rational of the study
 Literature review
 Theoretical framework
 Research questions
 Methodology
 Findings
 Implications
IN MEMORY OF LAWRENCE “LARRY” KING
On Feb. 12, 2008
Lawrence “Larry” King was in the
school’s computer lab with 24
other students. A classmate
walked up to Larry, and shot Larry
in the back of the head. Larry
died on February 15, 2008,
at the age of 14. The investigation
into Larry’s murder revealed that
Larry was shot by Brandon
McInerney, age 14, due to Larry’s
sexual orientation and sexual
expression.
STUDY OVERVIEW
The study addresses a gap in
knowledge about homophobia
among school social workers
(SSW) and SSW’s practice with
lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender (LGBT) youth.
In this study homophobia is
conceptually defined as the
broad range of negative
attitudes and beliefs about
LGBT populations that may
lead to a reduction of effective
mental health services for
LGBT individuals.
5,10,11,17
THE STUDY EXAMINED
The current degree of homophobia among
school social workers, and relationship
between homophobia and use of gay affirmative
practice among school social workers. As well as,
school climate’s moderating effect on homophobia
and use of gay affirmative practice in school settings.
STUDY RATIONAL
Empirical evidence suggest that LGBT youth are
one of the most vulnerable school populations in
contemporary society.5,8,15,16
Research also indicates that ideological
contradictions may exist between our professions’
espoused beliefs and actual practice behavior with
LGBT populations.4,7,10,11,13
Yet there is a gap in knowledge about school
social workers attitudes and beliefs regarding LGBT
individuals and use of gay affirmative practice.10,11,12
Seen Violence
Submerged Violence
Institutional Violence
Cultural Violence
Van Soest & Bryant (1995)
Theoretical Framework
Bandura(1977) Social Learning Theory
 Observation
 Modeling
 Imitation
Hofstede(2001) Organizational Theory
 Power-Individualism-Collectivism
 Organizational Justice:
 Distributive-Interactional Justice
What is the degree of
homophobia among
School Social Workers? Does
it vary by demographic
variables that include
religiosity, age, sexual
orientation, personal contact
with LGBT individuals,
education and training about
LGBT individuals?
What is the degree of
homophobia among School
Social Workers? Does it vary
by demographic variables
that include religiosity, age,
sexual orientation, personal
contact with LGBT
individuals, education and
training about LGBT
individuals?
To what extent do School
Social Workers engage in gay
affirmative practice with LGBT
students? Does it vary by
demographic variables that
include religiosity, age, sexual
orientation, personal contact
with LGBT individuals,
education and training about
LGBT individuals?
Is the association between
homophobia among School
Social Workers and use of gay
affirmative practice moderated
by school climate? Does it vary
by demographic variables that
include religiosity, age, sexual
orientation, personal contact
with LGBT individuals,
education and training about
LGBT individuals?
Methodology
National on-line confidential survey across 42 states
Purposeful sampling (N=283)
• School Social Work Association of America
(SSWAA)
• American Council for School Social Work (ACSSW)
• Affiliates of SWAA and CSSW
CONCEPTUAL MODEL
Social Learning Theory
Control
Variables:
Organizational
Theory
Age
Sexual
orientation
Education
Training
School Climate
Personal
contact
Religiosity
Homophobia
Gay Af irmative Practice
The sample consisted of 43
year old, White (74%),
heterosexual (85.3%),
females (84.2%), identified
as Catholic (52%), with a
Master’s degree (81%),
practicing in urban settings
with an average of 11 years
of practice experience
(44%).
Age (R)21=69
N=272
Homophobia, Gay Affirmative Practice,
Personal Contact
• Non-homophobic views(n=236) (M)66.86
• Gay affirmative practice(n=236) (M) 61.62
65% Personal contact (1-10)
Friend 55.8%
Family 23%
• Homophobia and PC(n=236)
personal contacts with LGBT individuals(r =.37*; p< .05)
• Gay Affirmative Practice & PC(n=236)
personal contacts with LGBT individuals(r =.41**; p< .01)
• Personal contact(n=236)
Professional development(r=29**;p.<.01)
Homophobia, Gay Affirmative
Practice, Education, Training
• Homophobia(n=236)
personal contact (r=.37**;p.<.01)
self-directed learning(r = .33**; p< .01)
professional development (r=15*;p<.05)
percentage of time master’s education (r=.12*;p.<.05)
class instruction master’s education (r=.16*; p.< .05)
• Gay Affirmative Practice(n=236)
self-directed learning(r = 38**; p < .01)
percentage of time master’s education (r=16*; p.< .05)
class instruction master’s education (r = 16*; p.< .05)
professional development (r=.25**;p.<.01)
supervision/case consultation (r=21*;p.<.05
Homophobia, Gay Affirmative
Practice, Religiosity
• Hodge’s (1972) Intrinsic Religious Motivation Scale
• Religious affiliation
• Frequency of attendance
• Homophobia & religiosity scale(n=236) (r=-.13**;p.<.01)
• Homophobia & attendance of religious services(n=236)
(r= -.24**;p.<.01)
• Gay Affirmative Practice & religiosity scale(n=236)
(r= -.16**;p.<.01)
• Gay Affirmative Practice & attendance of religious
services(n=236) (r= -.27**;p.01)
School Climate
Administrative support-LGBT services in school (n=187)
Yes=68%: No=32%
Hear anti-gay epithets like; “That’s so gay” (n=255)
• Yes=57%: No=43%
• “Faggot or Dyke”(n=255)
Yes=29%: No=71%
GSA or club/organization (n=248)
Yes=22%: No=78%
School safe for gay and lesbian faculty/staff (n=202)
Yes=45%: No=55%
Safe school policy to protect faculty/staff (n=144)
Yes=66%: No=34%
School social work practitioners
currently hold non-homophobic views
and provide gay affirmative practice
School social work practitioners are
uniquely positioned to intervene at the
school’s mezzo level to impact school
climate
School social work practitioners
actively seeking knowledge about
LGBT populations, and may benefit
from educational content, training,
supervision and case consultation
about LGBT populations
There exist contradictions in CSWE’s
call for LGBT education content and
social work education's response, and
CSWE’s religious exception
There is a need for school policy to
address safe school climate for LGBT
youth, faculty and staff
There exist a need to develop social
work curriculum to address LGBT
populations in higher education and
K-12 educational settings
There is a need to examine geographic
associations, religiosity homophobia and
gay affirmative practice
There is a need to develop standardized
and accessible measures for school
climate that specifically examines
homophobia and gay affirmative practice
in school settings
There is a need to develop cultural
competency services for LGBT youth in
school settings, and identify where school
practitioners obtain their knowledge and
practice information about LGBT youth
References
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An Examination of Homophobia and Social Work Practice