Title of Abstract

The Relationship Between Personal Trauma and Attitudes Toward Minority Groups

Poster Number

28

Submitting Student(s)

Ashley UnderwoodFollow

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.; sleighm@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

Abstract

We examined the impact of trauma on individuals’ levels of homophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism. Participants were 118 adults with a mean age of 27.90 (SD = 15.04). Eight-four participants identified as women, 28 as men, and the remainder reported other identities. Sixty-five participants identified as heterosexual and the remainder as alternate sexual identities. Seventy percent of participants were Caucasian. Participants responded to scales to assess their daily stress and experiences with trauma events, homophobia, transphobia, hostile sexism, and benevolent sexism. Adults’ prior experience with stress and trauma did not predict homophobic, sexist, or racist attitudes. Stress also failed to predict transphobia levels; however, trauma emerged as a distinct construct from stress as increased trauma did predict lower levels of transphobia. One possible explanation is that homophobia, sexism, and racism are widely recognized topics in today’s society, with increased social pressure against holding (or admitting) these prejudicial attitudes, an argument supported by the fact that we saw mostly gender and race similarities in these attitudes. However, transphobia is a less commonly experienced construct, and thus, may not elicit a common social response. People with traumatic backgrounds may be particularly sympathetic to transgender individuals, who may be seen as being vulnerable to misunderstanding, rejection, and trauma themselves. In fact, we found a trend for our non-heterosexual adults to have experienced more trauma. These findings add to our understanding of how trauma influences victims’ view on the world, and also adds to our limited but growing understanding of perceptions of transgender individuals.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

PSYC 472 - Sleigh

Other Presentations/Performances

Southeastern Psychological Association Conference, Virtual, March 2021

Type of Presentation

Poster presentation

Start Date

16-4-2021 12:30 PM

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Apr 16th, 12:30 PM

The Relationship Between Personal Trauma and Attitudes Toward Minority Groups

We examined the impact of trauma on individuals’ levels of homophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism. Participants were 118 adults with a mean age of 27.90 (SD = 15.04). Eight-four participants identified as women, 28 as men, and the remainder reported other identities. Sixty-five participants identified as heterosexual and the remainder as alternate sexual identities. Seventy percent of participants were Caucasian. Participants responded to scales to assess their daily stress and experiences with trauma events, homophobia, transphobia, hostile sexism, and benevolent sexism. Adults’ prior experience with stress and trauma did not predict homophobic, sexist, or racist attitudes. Stress also failed to predict transphobia levels; however, trauma emerged as a distinct construct from stress as increased trauma did predict lower levels of transphobia. One possible explanation is that homophobia, sexism, and racism are widely recognized topics in today’s society, with increased social pressure against holding (or admitting) these prejudicial attitudes, an argument supported by the fact that we saw mostly gender and race similarities in these attitudes. However, transphobia is a less commonly experienced construct, and thus, may not elicit a common social response. People with traumatic backgrounds may be particularly sympathetic to transgender individuals, who may be seen as being vulnerable to misunderstanding, rejection, and trauma themselves. In fact, we found a trend for our non-heterosexual adults to have experienced more trauma. These findings add to our understanding of how trauma influences victims’ view on the world, and also adds to our limited but growing understanding of perceptions of transgender individuals.