Hummel, Faye I.

Committee Member

Merrill, Alison S.

Committee Member

Copeland, Darcy A.

Committee Member

Kimball, Michael


College of Natural and Health Sciences; School of Nursing, Nursing Education


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



203 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Recognizing sexual minorities continue to experience discrimination and social, institutional, and health disparities, this study explored implicit and explicit sexual attitude among nursing students. Knowledge of these attitudes is an important step to improve the care provided to this vulnerable population. Yet, there remains little research of implicit sexual attitude among nurses and no research among nursing students. This study addressed this gap in the current literature by comparing measurements of implicit and explicit attitude and identifying demographic attributes that predict these attitudes. Critical cosmopolitan theory (Delanty, 2006), informed this non-experimental, descriptive, correlational study. Implicit attitude wasmeasured using the sexuality Implicit Association Test (IAT) (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). Explicit attitude of homophobia was measured using the Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men Scale (ATLG) (Herek, 1988). The IAT had acceptable (α = 0.73) reliability and the ATLG good (α = 0.89) reliability with this study sample. A demographic questionnaire of relevant predictor variables was drawn from the literature attitudes toward sexual minorities. A large sample (n = 1,348) of United States baccalaureate nursing students, drawn from a convenience sample, participated in the study. The majority of participants were female (n = 1,164, 86%), White (n = 990, 73%), self-identified as heterosexual (n = 1,044, 77%), and were enrolled in a registered nurse (RN) to bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program (n = 790, 59%). The average age of participants was 28 years. Analysis of the results demonstrated a moderate implicit preference favoring heterosexuals over lesbian women and gay men (D-score = 0.22) that was more negative than the general public who took the IAT in 2018 (D-score = 0.15). Explicit attitude results indicated a low level of homophobia (ATLG = 17.52) in contrast to earlier studies, which reported moderate to high levels of this negative explicit attitude. The difference in implicit and explicit scores were found to be statistically significant, consistent with previous research that reported more positive explicit compared to implicit attitude. Among demographic variables, identifying as male, heterosexual, somewhat or very religious, enrolled in a RN to BSN nursing program predicted more negative implicit and explicit attitude. The implications of these findings for nursing education were discussed and recommendations for nursing academic leadership, faculty, and students were presented.


Recipient of Dean's Citation for Outstanding Dissertation.

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Copyright is held by the author.