Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Spencer B. Olmstead

Committee Members

Hillary Fouts, Elizabeth Johnson, Lynn Sacco


This study explores the pre- and post-course knowledge and attitudes regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families. An upper-level, Child and Family Studies undergraduate course, Modern Families, was constructed and piloted during the Spring 2016 semester to provide students with empirically-based information on contemporary families with a heavy emphasis on LGBT individuals and families. Participants (N = 19), who were enrolled in the course, participated in a series of open- and close-ended surveys at the beginning (Time 1 [T1]) and end (Time 2 [T2]) of the semester that assessed their knowledge and attitudes towards diverse family constellations (most notably, LGBT). For the purposes of this study, only the measures and items pertaining to students’ knowledge and attitudes of LGBT individuals and families were analyzed. Using a mixed methods approach (Creswell, 2015) that conjoined paired samples t-tests (with bootstrap estimation) and qualitative content analysis (Krippendorff, 2013), results showed statistically significant change in knowledge and attitudes over the two time points. Quantitative analyses demonstrated that all measures of knowledge showed statistically significant increases in LGBT knowledge from pre-test to post-test with small to large effect sizes. Additionally, participant attitudes showed statistically significant increases in favorability towards bisexuality and transgenderism across the two time points. Qualitative content analysis revealed themes and subthemes that bolstered quantitative findings. Implications and recommendations are discussed for future course construction and research on LGBT individuals and families.

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