Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Joseph R. Miles

Committee Members

Patrick R. Grzanka, Michael A. Olsen


We extended and applied the findings of Grzanka, Zeiders, and Miles’s (2016) latent profile analysis of sexual orientation belief patterns by conducting an intervention study assessing how targeting different sexual orientation beliefs may be more effective in reducing homonegativity than interventions that focus only on biogenetic ideas about sexual orientation. Participants were assigned to one of four conditions and read research essays addressing different lay beliefs about sexual orientation as measured by the Sexual Orientation Beliefs Scale’s (SOBS; Arseneau, Grzanka, Miles, & Fassinger, 2013) subscales (Discreteness, Informativeness, Homogeneity, and Naturalness). One essay contained only scientific research regarding Naturalness (“Born This Way” condition), a second essay contained scientific research regarding Discreteness, Informativeness, and Homogeneity (“Social Constructionism” condition), and a third essay contained scientific research regarding all four dimensions (“Hybrid Essentialism” condition). The fourth condition was a control condition. We predicted that participants randomly assigned to the two conditions that targeted multiple sexual orientation beliefs would exhibit a greater reduction in their beliefs in the informativeness, discreteness, and homogeneity of sexual orientation categories, would demonstrate greater reductions in their levels of homonegative prejudice, and would report greater increases in their support for gay and lesbian civil rights. Sexual orientation beliefs moved in expected directions after the interventions for all conditions. While there was a main effect of time on homonegative prejudice, such that homonegative prejudice decreased from Time 1 to Time 2, there was no main effect of condition. There were no changes in support for gay and lesbian civil rights. Implications for the development of more comprehensive educational and social interventions designed to promote equality and social justice for sexual minorities are discussed.

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