Developing and implementing a scale to assess attitudes regarding transsexuality

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nova A. Swanstrom (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Katherine Bruce

Abstract: Two studies were conducted utilizing undergraduate psychology student samples in order to (1) develop a valid and reliable attitude scale regarding transsexuality, and (2) implement the resulting scale (Attitudes towards Transsexuality Scale). In Study One, 206 students completed surveys requesting the definition of transsexuality and opinion statements about transsexuality in order to derive statements for the initial pool of items. This was followed by an assessment for readability by five independent students. Once the preliminary item pool was generated, four experts assessed content and face validity as well as attitude valence of the items. The resulting initial questionnaire of 108 attitude statements was administered to a new sample of 143 students. Following an item analysis to identify the most discriminating items, the item pool was narrowed down to the final 47 items that make up the Attitudes towards Transsexuality Scale (ATS). In Study Two the ATS, as well as Herek’s Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gay men scale (ATLG; 1984) was administered to 382 students. In order to assess test-retest reliability, the ATS was re-administered to 107 of these students. Women did tend to have more favorable attitudes towards both transsexuals and homosexuals in the preliminary data analysis; however, once the data from participants who were not able to correctly identify the definition of the term “transsexuality” were removed from the analysis, gender differences were no longer present. There were significant differences in attitudes between the lower and upper-level student participants. An exploratory factor analysis resulted in four main factors in characterizing attitudes towards transsexuality (Acceptance, Emotional Reaction, Rights, and Parenting). Among the introductory-level psychology students, an additional factor was discovered (Relationships). In the total sample and among psychology majors, participants who tended to have more favorable attitudes on the ATS also tended to have similar attitudes on the ATLG; they also seemed to reflect more openness to new experiences although lower levels of extroversion and conscientiousness. However, among the introductory-level students, there was no relationship found between the ATS and extroversion and conscientiousness. In conclusion, the ATS is a valid and reliable attitude scale to assess attitudes towards transsexuality. Furthermore it has the potential to be useful in a variety of clinical and educational settings.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Educational tests and measurements, Gender identity--United States, Transsexuals
Educational tests and measurements
Gender identity -- United States

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