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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 99 / 161

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Zinberg, 1997; Herek & Capitanio, 1995; Herek & Glunt, 1993; Herek, 1988; Douglas, Kalman, & Kalman, 1985).

The dominant gender of the sample was female-—more so than in the general population of the registered nurse workforce in the State of Florida. Only 11 of 165 respondents were male, which could help to explain why differences between the genders of the sample were non-significant. This is also significant when examining overall ATLG scores of the sample as research in which females were disproportionately represented in the sample tend to underestimate overall homophobia of the study group (Lewis, 2003; Olivero & Murataya, 2001). Although gender differences were found to be statistically insignificant, it is possible that underestimation of homophobia within nursing samples is somewhat less than studies of the general heterosexual population simply because males are a distinct minority in nursing and statewide, account for only 15% of the nursing workforce (DHHS, 2000).

Males may tend to be more homophobic than females due to differences in attitudinal beliefs about sexuality (Herek, 2002b), greater irrational thought process among males (Plugge- Foust & Strickland, 2001), greater amount of interaction with homosexuals among females compared to males (Plugge-Foust & Strickland, 2001), and the theory of shared characteristics (Lim, 2002). This shared characteristics theory asserts that women have more commonalities with gay men compared to heterosexual men and therefore, react more positively to homosexual males. This theory mirrors gender belief system

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