A study on social workers' attitudes towards homosexuality

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A study on social workers' attitudes towards homosexuality

 

Author: Szeto, Wai-chu Rachel
Title: A study on social workers' attitudes towards homosexuality
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1997
Subject: Homosexuality -- Social aspects -- China -- Hong Kong
Social workers -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iii, 76, [11] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1405381
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2383
Abstract: This is the first quantitative study exploring Hong Kong social workers' attitudes towards homosexuality. According to Freud's theoretical analysis of homosexuality, people with the inner conflict of homosexual desire would form negative attitude towards homosexuality as a result of the use of defenses such as projection, reaction formation and suppression. Moreover, overseas findings revealed the significant correlation between attitudes towards homosexuality and demographic variables and previous personal contact with lesbians and gay men. Hence, this study is designed to examine attitudes of social workers towards homosexuality, and to explore the correlation between these attitudes and three aspects, which were respectively specific defense styles, demographic factors, and previous exposure to the issue of homosexuality or contact with homosexuals. One thousand social workers were selected as subjects and self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. With a return rate of 50.8%, the findings confirmed the significant correlation of attitudes towards homosexuality with the following factors: projection as a defense style, marital status, religious affiliation, source of knowledge about homosexuality, previous contact with homosexuals, and the perceived attitudes of significant others. The significant correlation between negative attitude towards homosexuality and the tendency to adopt projection as a defense style is successfully confirmed in this study. This provides the ground for social workers to reflect about the existence of any internal unresolved conflicts that possibly arouse unfavourable attitude towards homosexual clients, and hence affects the helping relationship adversely. At the same time, a more accepting attitude was found in those who have previous contacts with homosexuals but a relatively negative attitude in those who get information about homosexuality mainly from the mass media. This finding reflects the discrepancy between the social stereotype about homosexuals and the homosexuals themselves, and may serve as a substantial reference for the lesbians and gay men in considering disclosing their sexual orientation. Moreover, this study also showed that participation in training on the subject of homosexuality did not have any correlation with attitude. As the present study only explored whether the respondents had participated or not and the frequency of training programme attended, more in-depth inquiry into the relationship between attitudes and training programme, such as the content of training and the approach of the trainer, could be attempted in future researches. Finally, the gender difference in attitudes towards homosexuality, which was confirmed by various overseas studies, was not supported in this study. This could be accounted for by the possible lack of a similar disadvantaged social identity of women in Hong Kong. Similar studies could be attempted in the future when the feminist awareness heightens in Hong Kong.

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