The construction of the Lesbian and Gay Affirming Social Justice Competency Scale
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Heterosexism is evident in the psychology and social policies of society. Despite numerous efforts to end discrimination based on many different cultural factors, heterosexism is frequently condoned and encouraged. In accordance with professional ethics codes, counselors and other health professionals must challenge this discrimination by promoting equitable access and distribution of resources to lesbian and gay individuals. It is not clear, however, if counselors and counselors in training acquire this social justice efficacy through training. In fact, there are not currently any tools to assess lesbian and gay affirming social justice advocacy. Despite a history of multiculturalism and social justice in the counseling field, there has been little research attention paid to measuring social justice attitudes and actions. The current project was to develop the Lesbian and Gay Affirming Social Justice Competency Scale [LGASJC], a scale to measure counselors' and psychologists' knowledge, attitudes, and actions regarding lesbian and gay affirming social justice advocacy based on the following a priori factors: (1) awareness of social injustice toward lesbian and gay individuals, (2) beliefs that support social equality for lesbians and gay men, (3) intentions to participate in lesbian and gay affirming social justice action, (4) lesbian and gay affirming social justice self-efficacy, and (5) the past and present participation in lesbian and gay affirming social justice action. Following the scale development technique described by Devellis (2003), a research team was assembled to create a large pool of items to measure the construct. These items were edited and reduced to about 10 items per hypothesized factor. Face validity of this 52 item scale was evaluated by a panel of experts in lesbian and gay psychology, social justice, and psychometrics. Following the recommendation of the expert panel, the team also created a 10 item measure of general attitudes towards social justice. These scales were administered via web-based survey along with measures of convergent validity. An exploratory factor analysis with a sample of 360 students and practitioners of counseling and counseling psychology was conducted for data reduction. Criterion and convergent validity were examined by correlating data from the newly created scale with existing measures of (1) attitudes toward lesbians and gay men, (2) social justice selfefficacy, (3) political interest, and (4) religiosity. The exploratory factor analysis indicated a 4 factor structure of lesbian and gay affirming social justice competency including: (1) Self-Efficacy, (2) Attitudes, (3) Actions, and (4) awareness, which were consistent with the a priori model. Each of these subscales was examined and trimmed in order to create a reliable scale that is concise and feasible for survey measures. The final scale contains 28 items. The LGASJC scale was correlated positively with political engagement and social issue self efficacy, and negatively with religiosity and negative attitudes towards lesbians and gay men.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Proposed cross-cultural competencies and objectives -- Appendix B. Social justice competencies -- Appendix C. Informed consent -- Appendix D. Demographic questionnaire -- Appendix E. Original Lesbian and Gay Affirming Social Justice Competency Scale -- Appendix F. Duke Religion Index -- Appendix G. Political engagement index -- Appendix H. Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay men scale -- Appendix I. Social issues questionairre-self efficacy -- Appendix J. Final Lesbian and Gay Affirming Social Justice Competency Scale -- Appendix K. Attitudes toward social justice scale -- Appendix L. Components and reliabilities of contrasting models -- Appendix M. Screenshots of electronic survey.