Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. David Van Heemst
Dr. Steve Lowe
Scholarship of Community Application
Social workers have a unique opportunity to serve people by meeting basic human needs, combating oppression and marginalization, and advocating for social justice. The purpose of this correlational, quantitative study was to measure the relationship between attitudes and practices among social workers toward the LGBTQ community with a specific examination of the religiosity of social workers, in order to assess if a social worker provides appropriate, inclusive services, regardless of their attitude toward this community. 2,828 social workers were asked to complete a 42-question researcher-created survey, Social Workers Attitudes and Practices Assessment, assessing their attitudes and practices toward the LGBTQ Community. The participant size was 116 (n = 116). Social workers were found to have affirming attitudes (M = 1.90) and provide inclusive practices (M = 1.93) toward the LGBTQ community. In addition, utilizing a multiple regression analysis, religiosity correlates to social workers’ attitudes and practices toward the LGBTQ community: organized religious activity (ORA) (p < .001), non-organized religious activity (NORA) (p = .01) and intrinsic religiosity (IR) (p < .01) are each statistically significant predictors of one’s attitude and ORA (p = .03) and IR (p = .001) are statistically significant predictors of one’s practices. Attitude is a statistically significant predictor of practice toward the LGBTQ community (p < .001). The results of the current study provide a point-in-time count and framework for future research to study the evolution of social workers’ religiosity, as well as their attitudes and practices toward the LGBTQ community.
Participants in the current study provided a vulnerable and candid perspective regarding their attitudes and practices toward the LGBTQ community. Despite the fact participants have affirming attitudes toward this marginalized community, influences, such as religiosity, still correlate to their attitudes and practices. Social worker’s Organized and Non-Organized Religious Activity, as well as their Intrinsic Religiosity correlated with their attitude toward the LGBTQ community. And, social worker’s Organized Religious Activity and Intrinsic Religiosity (but not Non-Organized Religious Activity) correlated with their practice toward the LGBTQ community. Therefore, greater one’s religiosity the less inclusive services they provide and the lesser one’s religiosity the more inclusive services. In addition, attitude was a statistically significant predictor of one’s practice toward the LGBTQ community. A more affirming attitude predicts more inclusive services and a less affirming attitude predicts less inclusive services.
Mecklenburg, Cassie, "Attitudes and Practices of Social Workers Toward the LGBTQ Community" (2020). Ed.D. Dissertations. 129.
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Dr. Cassie Mecklenburg has spent more than 15 years in the non-profit world. After earning her MBA, she became the Executive Director of a domestic violence shelter and service provider in Indiana. Her background in fundraising, program development, strategic planning and leadership development in healthcare and human services has lent itself to tackling issues often deemed difficult to discuss. She values every person and sees them as individuals to learn from, connect with and support, not problems to solve or challenges to overcome.