Preservice Teachers and TGNC Victimization: the Influence of Beliefs and Policy on Response Style

Sofia Farmer and Dr. Lisa Duffin-Rexroat, Department of Psychology, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Boulevard, Bowling Green KY 42101

The purpose of this research study is to investigate pre-service teachers’ beliefs towards transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals, religious fundamentalism (RF), and tendencies to respond to TGNC students given the presence or absence of policy (i.e., response style). More specifically, this project aims to explore the relationship between RF and attitudes toward TGNC individuals, the relationship between RF and ally identity, and the degree to which response style differs for those individuals with strong RF in the presence/absence of TGNC inclusive school policy. This investigation is important because TGNC youth often face higher rates of bullying and discrimination than their cisgender peers. They are more likely to be suicidal and depressed. These students often miss more days of school and perform worse academically than cisgender peers. Teachers are the first responders in school, but their behavior can be influenced by personal beliefs and societal norms or policy. Since beliefs are more malleable early in a teacher’s professional development, this study focuses on those individuals going through initial teacher training. This study measures participants’ RF, ally identity, attitudes toward TGNC individuals, and response style through a survey sent to Kentucky and Illinois preservice teachers (n = 150). Prior research informs the hypotheses for this study with the following expected results. There will be a significant negative correlation between RF and attitudes toward TGNC, and a significant negative correlation between RF and ally identity. Because strong RF beliefs include a set of extreme religious ideologies that require scripture to dictate and inform beliefs and behavior, there will be no statistically significant difference in mean response style score of participants with strong RF regardless of presence or absence of policy. Findings from this study will have important implications for teacher training programs and the development and adherence of educational policy.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Sofia Farmer

Institution: Western Kentucky University

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7044