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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

Am I as accepting as I think? Exploring religious identity and implicit biases towards the gay community

Presenters: Layla Dustin ; Jessika Schmid ; Carly Johnson
Authors: Layla Dustin, Adam Barker, Jessika Schmid, Carly Johnson, Katie Taggart
Faculty Advisor: Julie Pynn
Institution: Southern Utah University

According to religious identity theory, religious identity is defined as a person's perception of his/her membership to a religion and the importance of that membership as it relates to one's self concept. A study conducted in South Africa showed a positive correlation between higher levels of religiosity and biases towards the LGBTQ+ community (Mavhandu-Mudzusi & Sandy, 2015). Another study showed that participants who self-reported their attitudes towards gay men and lesbian women varied from their implicit measures of religiousness and spirituality (LaBouff et al., 2010). Although existing research indicates a correlation between an individual's religiosity and level of negative bias toward LGBTQ+ individuals, we are focusing on implicit biases rather than explicit biases toward the gay community. We predict a significant positive correlation between SUU students' religiosity and unfavorable bias toward the gay community. We anticipate these results based on the cultural ideas and attitudes promoting traditional family and marriage in the SUU student population. This research will help cultivate self-awareness regarding whether one's religiosity relates to their level of negative bias regarding the gay community. Implicit biases can't be corrected until we bring them to awareness.