Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

John S. Wodarski

Committee Members

Cynthia Rocha, Samuel A. MacMaster, Robert F. Kronick

Abstract

Abstract

Sexual minority foster youth living in out-of-home care are in need of enhanced services to promote successful development. Scholars have focused on providing insight into the lives of these youth as well as effective treatment approaches. None have focused on the willingness of the providers of their care. This nationwide non-probability cross-sectional study assessed foster mothers’ (N = 304) willingness to care for sexual minority youth, using secondary data analysis.

Willingness was assessed using the Willingness to Foster Scale (WFS), which identifies four levels of willingness ranging from not willing at all to willing without any extra help or support. The level of willingness was assessed across multiple variables that identified specific characteristics of the participants. Resource theory is used to provide a conceptual framework suggesting that those with greater resources are more likely to help those in need. From this perspective, this study refers to resources in terms of the characteristics identified by the included foster mothers.

It was hypothesized that foster mothers with greater resources would be more willing to care for sexual minorities. It was also hypothesized that participants who are more actively involved with religious activities would be less willing to care for sexual minorities.

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