Date of Award

5-1-2006

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

M.S.W.

First Advisor

Sarita Davis, Ph.D.

Abstract

This is a two-part study that examines the correlation of religion and sexual orientation on the psychosocial understandings of two populations: same gender-loving men and social work students. The study is based on two online surveys. The first part gathered the responses of same gender-loving men (n=83) to online surveys. The second section gathered responses of Bachelor, Masters, Doctoral Social Work students (n=44) to an online survey. By the use of a 30-item, self-administered online questionnaire on Christian conservatism, the researcher operationalizes the study's independent variable, conservative Christian religiosity. The researcher explores the connection between the independent variable and the dependent variable, homonegitivity and Christian conservatism, using an online, self-administered; 11 item questionnaire. Pearson's r shows a correlation between conservative Christian beliefs and level of homonegitivity. Additionally, the researcher explores the perceptions of social work students on the rights, morality, psychological fitness, and social stability of gay men and lesbians via a 33-item questionnaire, also designed for this study. Pearson's r also shows a correlation between conservative Christian beliefs and level of homonegitivity within social work students. Social workers and students need to access their personal biases concerning homosexuality while in training or before doing practice within a setting that can potentially serve this population. These preconceived notions may adversely affect the quality and/or level of service a same gender-loving individual may receive. More importantly, it may add to pressures on this population to conform to cultural or religious expectations that are inconsistent with their state of being. Finally, social work educators expounding on homosexuality and related concerns within the "beloved community" should have a keen understanding of black family dynamics; relationship building and maintenance among same gender-loving men; the importance of extended family and fictive kin networks; the primacy of race identification; centrality of Christian fundamentalism; and the pervasiveness of traditional gender role identification within all facets of the "beloved community".

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