Attitudes Of University Students In Lebanon Towards Homosexuality Essay Example
Attitudes Of University Students In Lebanon Towards Homosexuality Essay Example

Attitudes Of University Students In Lebanon Towards Homosexuality Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2202 words)
  • Published: August 26, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Bowen & Bourjeois (2001) observed that homosexuality has become more prevalent in various civilizations, leading to the formation of groups advocating for the rights of homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals. As such, society's attitudes towards these individuals can have an impact on their emotional and societal development. Studies conducted since the late 1970s have explored factors influencing heterosexuals' attitudes towards homosexuality such as gender, religion, education, and race (Whitley, 1988; Negy & Eisenman, 2005; Landen & Innala, 2002; Grapes, 2006). Research from different countries suggests a generally negative attitude towards homosexuals and lesbians (Negy & Eisenman, 2005; Landen & Innala, 2002; Hopwood & Jimmy conorss , 2002; Schellenberg,Hirt,& sSears1999), which is thought to be similar in Lebanon due to inadequate research on the subject. To effectively investigate university students' attitudes towards homosexuality in Lebanon,a survey should be conducted. The aim of this su


rvey was to determine university students' attitudes towards homosexuality. Previous studies have highlighted that gender and choice of major can shape attitudes among university students.This study examines male and female students studying social sciences and arts versus natural sciences and business regarding homosexuality.In Arab culture,resistance against Western influences promoting female nudity and homosexuality results in negative views on homosexuality despite strict moral codes being present.Attitudes towards homosexuality vary and are influenced by social, political, religious, and cultural factors. Research has shown that undergraduate university students' views on homosexuals differ based on their gender, education level, religion, and race. Negative attitudes towards gay men and lesbians are also present in Western countries such as the United States, Australia, Sweden,and Canada. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence regarding attitudes towards homosexuality in Lebanon; henc

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it is crucial to conduct studies to establish firm grounds on this issue. The objective of this study is to measure the perceptions of Lebanese undergraduate students towards gay men and lesbians. In a previous research conducted at an Australian university by Hopwood and Connors (2002), they examined undergraduate students' attitudes toward homosexuals based on their majors and religiosity levels. They predicted that business majors would exhibit more homophobia than liberal arts majors while religiously conservative males would be more likely to display homophobic behavior. A total of 104 students participated in the study with 58% registered in liberal arts courses while 42% were enrolled in business classes; females constituted 65% of the sample population. The participants were given a questionnaire comprising three parts: the Heterosexual Attitudes to Homosexuals questionnaire which assessed societal equality for homosexuals; the Fear of AIDS scale measuring fear related to HIV/AIDS;A recent study conducted at the University of Windsor in Canada aimed to analyze undergraduate students' attitudes towards gay men and lesbians based on their gender, faculty of study, and year level. The research tested two hypotheses: firstly that those studying Humanistic disciplines or Social Science modules would have more favorable attitudes compared to those enrolled in Science or Business courses; secondly, that females were likely to hold a positive view towards homosexual and lesbian individuals than male counterparts. A group of 199 undergraduates were selected to participate in the research, consisting of 101 males and 98 females from diverse faculties. During their participation, they provided personal details including age, gender, major and academic year while responding to questions posed by the researchers. The results validated the hypotheses which showed

that fear of HIV/AIDS was a significant predictor for homophobia among men with a correlation coefficient value of 0.64. Additionally, demographic variables such as gender and religion also played significant roles as predictors where men showed more negative attitudes towards homophiles than women while religious individuals expressed greater levels of homophobia compared to nonreligious counterparts. Academic major was another predictor variable as business students demonstrated higher levels of homophobia than arts students did.Using the concise Herek's Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men scale, attitudes towards homosexuals and lesbians were evaluated. Results indicated that students pursuing Humanities or Social Sciences had more positive views towards gay men compared to those in Business or Science courses. Women showed a favorable attitude towards homosexuality regardless of academic year level. Although male students initially held negative perceptions about cheerful males' sexual orientations when starting university, their attitudes improved over time spent in school. However, attitudes towards lesbians were not influenced by faculty or gender but did improve with increased duration at university. The 2005 study by Negy and Eisenman aimed to investigate how socialization and religion may impact the attitudes of White and African American college students towards homosexuals, bisexuals, and lesbians. No formal hypothesis was proposed due to previous inconsistent findings; however, earlier research suggested that while African Americans support homosexual rights laws, they are more likely than Whites to consider homosexuality inappropriate. To investigate factors influencing homophobia among African Americans, this study considered cultural, religious, and sociodemographic variables.At a Southeast US public university, 77 African Americans (22 male and 48 female) and 143 non-Hispanic Whites (38 male and 105 female), who primarily identified as Christian and exclusively

heterosexual, were included in a study. To evaluate socioeconomic status, the Demographic Sheet questionnaire was used to gather information on age, gender, ethnicity, spiritual affiliation, sexual orientation, parents' education level and years of education. Researchers measured religious commitment by assessing participants' frequency of church attendance and reasons for belief in religion. Additionally, social desirability was measured using the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding while homophobia was evaluated with Hudson & Ricketts' Index of Homophobia; attitudes towards homosexuality were assessed through the Heterosexual Attitudes Toward Homosexuality questionnaire. The African American Acculturation Scale was used to determine assimilation into traditional African American culture for those specific participants.The study findings revealed that while African Americans showed a greater tendency towards negative attitudes towards LGB individuals compared to White participants, this gap disappeared when factors like church attendance, religiosity and SES were considered. Moreover, both African American and White participants exhibited higher chances of holding unfavorable views about LGB individuals if they displayed high levels of church attendance, religiosity or SES. Bowen and Bourgeois (2001) examined attitudes toward LGB individuals using social psychological theories.They hypothesized that having more acquaintances who identified as LGB in the past would lead to more positive attitudes toward this group; respondents' personal views on LGB individuals would also be rated more positively than those held by their peers due to pluralistic ignorance. Another research employing Dynamic Social Impact Theory expected different attitudes depending on residence halls where present contact with LGB individuals was predicted to result in more favorable opinions regardless of past contact history.Questionnaires were distributed via mail among 240 undergraduate residents residing in two different abode halls, building A consisting of 6

floors and building B having 5 floors.Only 109 participants completed the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Attitudes questionnaire, which included a 7-point Likert scale for their attitudes towards LGB individuals. They also answered questions about past encounters with LGB people and if openly LGB persons lived on their floors or in their abode halls. The results supported pluralistic ignorance theory, as respondents had more favorable views towards LGB individuals compared to their friends or average students. Those who knew openly LGB individuals residing on their floor or abode hall exhibited more positive attitudes towards them than those without such knowledge. Limitations of this study include small sample size and cultural homogeneity of the respondents while low response rates may indicate bias due to adverse attitudes among non-participants.

In Sweden, Landen and Innala (2002) conducted a research study to investigate how attitudes towards homosexuality differed based on beliefs in biological or psychological explanations. The study surveyed 992 participants randomly selected from the National Registration list by sending them questionnaires via mail. Out of these, only 668 responded with their beliefs about homosexuality, its integration into society, and homosexual relationships. The study also examined differences between genders and age groups.The study included 334 college students from private universities in Turkey, consisting of 140 female and 194 male participants aged between 18 to 70 years old, with an average age of 44. The results indicated that individuals who supported biological explanations had more tolerant attitudes towards homosexuality compared to those who favored psychological explanations, supporting previous research on the subject. Additionally, respondents who were more familiar with homosexuals expressed more accepting views towards them. Women and younger individuals also held more favorable attitudes

towards homosexuality than those believing it was psychologically caused. Out of all participants, 51% believed in a biological account while the remaining 49% endorsed a psychological explanation. According to a citation, holding positive attitudes towards homosexuals is likely for those who believe in the biological explanation of homosexuality and have personal connections with them. Cirakoglu's (2006) study aimed to investigate Turkish university students' perceptions of homosexuality by comparing beliefs about its causes and analyzing attitudes towards 'gay' versus 'lesbian.' Furthermore, the research evaluated participants' opinions based on previous social contact with homosexuals. The hypothesis suggested that 'gay' would elicit negativity while 'lesbian' would provoke positive attitudes; however, individuals with prior contact would hold more favorable views than those without such experiences.The students in the study provided demographic information and completed two scales - a 50-item scale concerning the causes of homosexuality and a 19-item attitude scale. The results revealed that nearly half of the participants (41.82%) had prior contact with at least one homosexual, which supported the initial hypotheses that attitudes towards homosexuality are influenced by labeling. Among the participants, 'lesbian' was viewed as more positive than 'gay' or 'homosexual,' with the latter eliciting mostly negative opinions among men. Those who had social interaction with homosexuals previously exhibited more positive attitudes towards homosexuality compared to those without such connections, who tended to believe that it was caused by psychological or physiological issues rather than being a lifestyle choice. Another study conducted by Mwaba (2009) evaluated student attitudes towards same-sex marriage following its legalization in South Africa in 2006, despite discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals being prohibited by law at a Western Cape university where undergraduates held

continued negative views toward homosexuality. A total of 150 pupils were surveyed, most of whom were female (83%) with an average age of 18.3 years; additionally, 68% identified themselves as Christians.The survey focused on their opinions regarding homosexuality and gay marriage.Results showed that most participants believed that homosexuality should not be socially acceptable (44%).While 41% of respondents believed in granting equal rights to homosexuals, the majority (59%) opposed this idea. Surprisingly, almost three-quarters (71%) found same-sex marriage unusual, but opinions on legalizing gay marriage were evenly divided between supporters and non-supporters (51% supported it while 49% did not). In fact, nearly two-fifths of respondents (37%) saw no issue with discriminating against homosexuals. Interestingly, education level significantly impacted people's perspectives on homosexuality. Grapes' 2006 study investigated the relationship between education level and attitudes towards homosexuals and their rights. Based on previous research, Grapes predicted that individuals with higher levels of education would have more accepting attitudes towards homosexuals, particularly females. The study used data from the General Social Survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and included a sample size of 740 participants where gender and educational level were independent variables and attitudes towards homosexuals were dependent variables measured through four specific questions within the survey. Consistent with prior research, Grapes found that females showed more positive attitudes than males towards homosexual rights and individuals while also discovering a multivariate relationship between education level, gender, and attitudes towards homosexual rights.According to Grapes (2006), men who did not complete high school were 36% more likely to oppose equal rights for homosexuals, while women with postgraduate education were 28% more likely to support

these rights compared to those without a high school degree. Herek's (1988) study examined the impact of gender on attitudes towards gay and lesbian individuals among 405 college students from six US universities. The research investigated social psychological factors that contributed to attitude formation and differences between attitudes towards gay men and lesbian women. Participants were asked about their religious background, frequency of religious service attendance, and number of gay or lesbian friends they had. Herek developed Attitude Towards Lesbians and Gays (ATLG), which consisted of two ten-item subscales measuring attitudes towards lesbian women and gay men separately. Results indicated that male participants expressed more negative attitudes towards both groups on the ATL and ATG scales than female participants but had less negative attitudes specifically towards lesbian women. Traditional gender roles, family values, religious commitments, and prior experience with gays and lesbians all influenced attitude formation. Bowen and Bourgeois' (2001) study using Pluralistic ignorance theory found that those with negative attitudes assumed their peers felt similarly.Engstrom and Sedlacek (1997) conducted a comparable study on heterosexual college students at a southeastern university to examine their views towards lesbians and gays. The research included 224 heterosexual college students, with an equal division between genders. The SAS Sexual Orientation Survey was utilized to assess the participants' attitudes towards homosexuals via a 10-statement Likert-type scale that measured personal, social, and academic situations. Moreover, the study explored specific scenarios where negative attitudes were expressed by creating three identifiers for different sexual orientations: one for unspecified, one for "Gay male pupil," and another for "lesbian pupil." Results showed that male participants held more negative views towards gay men than lesbians while

interacting in public; however, female respondents displayed more negativity towards gay men despite holding generally unfavorable attitudes toward lesbians. Nonetheless, all participants opposed physically assaulting homosexuals strongly. This investigation offers insight into how stereotypical attitudes are formed and can be valuable for future research initiatives.

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