Heterosexism and School Psychologists: Conflicts, Multicultural Sensitivity, and Preferred Professional Responsibility When Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Questioning Youth

Elyse Bensusan, Pace University

Abstract

School psychologists are ethically and professionally responsible for possessing and developing appropriate attitudes, knowledge, sensitivities, and skills for work with sexual minority students. The purpose of this current study was to survey school psychologists' actual and desired post-certification training for work with LGBQ youth, their perceptions of their knowledge of LGBQ issues, and their perceived need for additional training for work with LGBQ youth population. In addition, this project served as an investigation of the structure of heterosexist bias and perceived religious conflict as a way to begin to flesh out the more precise dynamics behind these multicultural conflicts. The implications and negative impact of heterosexist attitudes and religious conflict on school psychologists' professional role perception, and sense of responsibility and professional development to serve LBGQ youth in schools were explored. ^ Results gleaned from 203 school psychology practitioners provided a wealth of information regarding school psychologists' perceived knowledge, level of preparation, perceived need for additional training for work with sexual minority youth as well as their preferred role, religious conflict, multicultural sensitivity and sense of responsibility when working with these youth. An overwhelming majority of respondents perceived themselves to be inadequately trained by their graduate programs to provide services to LGBQ youth across various service categories including: counseling, advocating, consulting with parents of LGBQ youth and assessing risk. Given the overall high percentage of participants who do not receive this training in graduate school or in post-grad professional development, results revealed a large gap between the perceived need for additional training and the actual additional training completed. Results suggest that heterosexism as well as increased difficulty reconciling one's own religious conflict appears to be negatively related to the desire to promote social justice leadership in schools and fulfill the responsibility to knowledgeably and effectively meet the diverse needs of sexual minority students. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|GLBT Studies|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Elyse Bensusan, "Heterosexism and School Psychologists: Conflicts, Multicultural Sensitivity, and Preferred Professional Responsibility When Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Questioning Youth" (January 1, 2011). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3476667.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3476667

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