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1 THE IMPACT OF THE FAMILY'S REACTION ON THE LGB STUDENT COLLEGE EXPERIENCE By PATRICIA M. JORDAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Patricia M. J ordan
3 To my family, partner, and friends
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank the members of my supervisory committee, Dr. Suz anna Smith, Dr. Kate Fogarty, and Dr. Diane Porter Roberts, for their help and support throughout this process. Their advice, comments, suggestions, and encouragement throughout the research process have been invaluable. I would also like to thank my famil y, partner and friends for all of their support and love through this crucial part of my education. Their inspiration helped me from start to finish, enabling me to envision, carry out, and write this thesis.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 13 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 15 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 16 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 16 Definit ion of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 17 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 19 The Progression of the LGB Rights Social Movement ................................ ............ 19 Importance of Support and Connectedness on a College Campus ........................ 22 Family Impact on LGB Young Adults ................................ ................................ ...... 24 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ........................... 25 ................................ ................................ .......... 26 Symbolic Interactionism ................................ ................................ .................... 27 3 METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 33 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 33 SERU Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 34 Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) ................................ .. 34 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ 35 Sample selection ................................ ................................ ........................ 35 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ .......................... 35 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 36 Data analysis ................................ ................................ ............................. 36 Focus Groups ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 37 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ 37 Sample selection ................................ ................................ ........................ 37 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ .......................... 38 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 40 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ............................. 42
6 Limi tations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 43 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 46 SERU Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 46 Sexual Orientation ................................ ................................ ............................ 48 Academic experience ................................ ................................ ................. 48 Community connectedness ................................ ................................ ........ 50 Involvement ................................ ................................ ................................ 51 Gender ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 53 Academic experience ................................ ................................ ................. 53 Community connectedness ................................ ................................ ........ 53 Involvement ................................ ................................ ................................ 54 Race/Ethnicity ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 55 Academic experience ................................ ................................ ................. 55 Community connectedness ................................ ................................ ........ 56 Involvement ................................ ................................ ................................ 56 Focus Groups ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 57 LGB Student Positive Coming Out Experience ................................ ................ 59 Positive Family Reaction ................................ ................................ ............ 59 Student Re action ................................ ................................ ....................... 61 LGB Student College Experience ................................ ................................ ..... 62 LGB Student Academic Experience In College ................................ .......... 63 LGB Student Community Connectedness in college ................................ 64 LGB Student Club/Organization Involvement in college ............................ 66 Impactful Person ................................ ................................ ........................ 68 LGB Student Negative Coming Out Experience ................................ ............... 70 Negative Family Reaction ................................ ................................ .......... 70 Student Reaction ................................ ................................ ....................... 71 LGB Student College Experience ................................ ................................ ..... 72 LGB Student Academic Experience in colle ge ................................ ........... 73 LGB Student Community Connectedness in college ................................ 73 LGB Student Club/Organization Involvement in College ............................ 74 Impactful Person ................................ ................................ ........................ 76 Contrasting Experience ................................ ................................ .................... 77 LGB Student Coming Out Experience ................................ .............................. 77 Family Reaction ................................ ................................ ......................... 77 Student Reaction ................................ ................................ ....................... 78 LGB Student College Ex perience ................................ ................................ ..... 78 LGB Student Academic Experience in College ................................ .......... 78 LGB Student Club/Organization Involvement In College ........................... 79 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 96 SERU Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 96 Addressing Hypotheses 1 ................................ ................................ ................. 97 Addressing Hypothesis 2 ................................ ................................ .................. 98
7 Addressing Hypothesis 3 ................................ ................................ ................ 100 Answering the Research Questi ons ................................ ............................... 100 Focus Groups ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 101 Addressing Hypothesis 4 ................................ ................................ ................ 102 Addressing Hypothesis 5 ................................ ................................ ................ 103 Answering the Research Question ................................ ................................ 104 Theoretical Connections ................................ ................................ ....................... 104 6 CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 109 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 111 Implications for University Student Affairs Practice and Research ....................... 111 APPENDIX A SELECTED SERU SURVEY QUESTIONS ................................ .......................... 116 B IRB APPROVAL LETTER ................................ ................................ ..................... 119 C EMAIL REQUEST TO PARTICIPATE ................................ ................................ .. 120 D PARTICIPANT SIGN UP ................................ ................................ ...................... 121 E COGNITIVE TESTING OF FOCUS GROUP QUESTIONS ................................ .. 124 F CHANGES TO COGNITIVE TEST ................................ ................................ ....... 126 G ................................ ................................ ....................... 127 H RESOURCES FOR FOCUS G ROUPS ................................ ................................ 130 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 131 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 135
8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 ................................ ................................ ............................... 31 3 1 Addressing Procedural Issues ................................ ................................ ................ 45 4 1 SERU Survey Factor Analysis ................................ ................................ ................ 81 4 2 Sexual Orientation and Academic Experience ................................ ........................ 83 4 3 ANOVA Table Sexual Orientation and Acad emic Experience ............................... 83 4 4 Sexual Orientation and Community Connectedness ................................ ............... 84 4 5 ANOVA Table Sexual Orientation and Community Conne ctedness ...................... 84 4 6 Sexual Orientation and Involvement ................................ ................................ ....... 85 4 7 ANOVA Table Sexual Orientation and Involvement ................................ ................ 85 4 8 Gender and Academic Experience ................................ ................................ .......... 86 4 9 ANOVA Table Gender and Academic Experience ................................ ................. 86 4 10 Gender and Community Connectedness ................................ .............................. 87 4 11 ANOVA Table Gender and Community Connectedness ................................ ...... 87 4 12 Gender and Involvem ent ................................ ................................ ....................... 88 4 13 ANOVA Table Gender and Involvement ................................ .............................. 88 4 14 Race/Ethnicity and Academic Experience ................................ ............................. 89 4 15 ANOVA Table Race/Ethnicity and Academic Experience ................................ .... 90 4 16 Race/Ethnicity and Community Connectedness ................................ ................... 91 4 17 ANOVA Table Race/Ethnicity and Community Connectedness ........................... 92 4 18 Race/Ethnicity and Involvement ................................ ................................ ............ 93 4 19 ANO VA Table Race/Ethnicity and Involvement ................................ ................... 94 4 20 LGB Student Coming Out Experience Before College VS LGB Student Coming Out Experience During College ................................ ................................ .......... 95
9 LIST O F FIGURES Figure page 2 1 ................................ .................... 32 5 1 LGB Student Experience Model ................................ ................................ ............ 108
10 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S LGB LGB is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual individuals. It refer s to individuals who identify with any of these sexual orientations. Throughout this research, LGB will be referencing any individua l who identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Occasionally the resea rcher will state LGBT referring to the gay community but the researcher is not researching transgender individuals, which is what the T represents in LGBT. SERU SERU, also known as, the Student Experience in a Research University survey, assesses the college satisfaction of university students, specifically for this study at the University of Florida.
11 Abstract Of Thesis Presented To The Graduate School Of The University Of Florida In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Master Of Science THE IMPACT OF THE FAMILY'S REACTION ON THE LGB STUDENT COLLEGE EXPER IE NCE By Patricia Jordan August 2012 Chair: Suzanna Smith Major: Family, Youth and Community Sciences The recent increase in suicides among lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) young adults has prompted c ollege campuses to look into the issue of LGB bullying and its impacts on LGB students. Research shows that LGB college students are often isolated f rom their peers and their families may play an important role in providing the support, assistance with decisions, and life experiences that either encourage or discourage the The first purpose of this study was to explore how LGB students at the University of Florida evaluate their college experience compared to heterosexual students. Thi s was conducted through a quantitative method by coding an existing data set from an already established national survey conducted by the University of Florida called, Student Experience in the Research University (SERU). The second purpose was to document impacts their c ollege experience This was conducted through a qualitative portion by leading three focus groups consisting of LGB participants, which were later tr anscribed for themes. This study used nvolvement and Symbolic I nteraction ism
12 th eory, to explain the findings. The researcher found that LGB students at UF are more satisfied with their college experience than heterosexual students in cer tain areas of the college experience. The researcher a lso found that LGB students who perceive an accepting family reaction to their sexual orientation have a more positive college ve. These findings will contribute to the student development of LGB students in college.
13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Families headed by same sex partners are increasingly being acce pted by the American public (PEW Research 2011), as the number of states leg alizing same sex marriages has increased and the number of gay and lesbian adoptions is growing (Brodzinsky, 2011). Reflecting this growing interest in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families in recent years, scholarly work on this topic has also increased (Hartwell, Serovich, Grafsky, & Kerr, 2012), yet there is still much to be done to better understand the lives of LGBT individuals and their relationships. One under reported area is the role the family plays during the pivotal transitiona l years from adolescence to young adulthood, when adolescents typically discover their the family content for adolescent development, little is known about the impacts of individuals can be difficult, and that individuals may face isolation, rejection, a nd abuse some evidence that the family's response to the disclosure of sexual orientation, whether negative or positive, affects the individual emotionally, impacts their s elf acceptance, and alters family dynamics (Darby Mullins & Murdock, 2007; Detrie & Lease, 2007; Heatherington & Lavner, 2008; Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz & Sanchez, 2010; Sheets & Mohr, 2009). The recent increase in suicides amongst lesbian, gay, and bis exual young adults has drawn attention to the potentially devastating consequences
14 of family rejection (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009), which may be compounded by relentless bullying and rejection by peers (Waldo, 1998). College campuses have taken considerable interest in the adjustment and campus life in the last two decades, at least in part bec ause of the tragic suicides of s ome LGB students as a result of bullying. Many campuses are in the process of developing responses designed to increase und erstanding and acceptance of the LGB student population. For example, the University of Florida and several other universities annually conduct the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey that assesses the college satisfaction of univer sity students. This survey includes a number of questions designed to assess the college satisfaction of LGB and Transgender and Queer students. Findings from the most recent (2010) SERU study indicate that 3% of survey participants were lesbian, gay or b isexual (Office of Institutional Planning and Research, 2010). LGB students reported they were not as respected on campus as their students of their sexual orientation were res pected on campus, compared to eighty 2010, p. 11). Furthermore, according to the UF summary SERU 2010 report, LGB students were overall less satisfied with their colleg e experience. Clearly, this data indicated an urgent need for the University to begin to examine why such differences exist. While SERU provided a snapshot of college student satisfaction with the University, it did not address some of the possible reason s or factors that could be
15 associated with LGB student dissatisfaction with the college experience, such as, family response to disclosure of their sexual orientation, peer group acceptance, or degree of campus support for LGB students. This study will exp the impacts of these other factors on their college experience. One issue that received very little attention is the experiences of LGB students of color, who may be subject to as sexual orientation, and may be further marginalized, by heterosexual students of color (Harper, Jernewall and Zea, 2004). Consequently LGB persons of color may feel they need to choose to be either a person of color or LGB because they are unable to ex press both parts of themselves in either community (Harper et al 2004). By exploring the experiences of LGB students and LGB s tudents of col or, this study seeks to provide a greater understanding to of the of color face. This research will allow an understanding of some of the struggles that LGB students of color face, that may be useful for student affairs professionals. Thus, SERU provides valuable information about academics, involvement, connectedness t o the college campus and other areas of interest that can be used by college administrators to create a better college environment for LGB students. However, SERU does not identify the factors that would appear to be influential to the perience. In particular, the family environment may be an important but unrecognized role in student adjustment, just as it is for heterosexual students according to the review of the literature. Purpose of Study The purpose of this study is to explore ho w lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)
16 on their college experience. This study focused on the connection between family and the LGB individual's college experience in order to fill a gap in knowledge about adjustment to the college experience among LGB students. This study utilized student framework for studying the level of involvement of LGB students and their overall college experience. In addition, the Symbolic Interactionism Theory (Mead, 1934) will be and how their perception of their Research Questions The research q uestions guiding this study are; 1. How do all LGB college students, LGB college students of color, and LGB men and women eval uate their c ollege experience? How do their evaluations compare to those of heterosexual students? 2. on their college experience? 3. How do LGB students perceive the relative impact of other i nfluences on their college experiences? well as perceptions of their families' reactions to their sexual orientation. Hypotheses In examining the relation between family re action and the college experience, the following hypotheses will be addressed: 1. LGB students will be less satisfied with their college experience than heterosexual students. 2. LGB Students of C olor will report lower levels of satisfaction wi th the college exp erience than LGB White s tudents.
17 3. Gay and bisexual men will be less satisfied with the college experience than lesbian and bisexual women. 4. LGB students who perceive their family as accepting during the coming out process will have a more positive college e xperience than LGB students whose parents are non accepting. 5. LGB Students of C olor will report lower levels of perceived family acceptance than LGB W hite students. Definition of Terms Throughout this paper several terms or acronyms will be used. These are defined below. Coming o ut: Coming o to others. This is a process and there is no specif ic age, time or place where it occurs. This process is reported to be the most difficult thing that a person w ho is gay, lesbian or bisexual has to face. For this paper, the coming out process encompasses disclosing ones sexual orientation to their family and/or college community. Lesbian: A lesbian is defined as a woman who is sexually interested in other women. Although some individuals may define themselves as a woman but biologically are not, in this study lesbian refers only to a person who is biologically a woman and is sexually interested in other women as a lesbian. Gay: A gay individual is defined as a man who is sexually interested in other men. Although some individuals may define themselves as a man but biologically are not, this study refers only to a person who is biologically a man and is interested in other men as a gay man. Bisexual: Bisexual is def ined as an individual who is sexually attracted to other persons of the same sex and the opposite sex. Bisexual individuals are under reported
18 College Experience: First, the definition of college provided by Gard ner et al. (2009) is relevant. society to further formal education, so that students who attend and graduate will be ardner et al., 2009, p. 3). With regard to the college experience, the College Student Experience college based on the following variables: club/or ganization involvement, connectedness to community, and academics ( Indiana University Bloomington 2007) Family: For purposes of this study, family is defined as a group of people composed of two generations, including an adult partnership and their biolo gical or adopted child or children. Family of Choice: A family of choice is a person or group of people that the LGB This person or group can be the LGB person workers. The family of choice may include all or selected members of their family of origin (Gender Equity Resource Center, 2011). Family Reaction: family membe bian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation The reaction, whether negative or positive, affects the individual emotionally in relation to accepting their own sexuality and affects the family dynamics (Heatherington & Lavner, 2008; Sheets & Mohr, 2009; Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz & Sanchez, 2010; Detrie & Lease, 2007; Darby Mullins & Murdock, 2007). Family reactions may range on a spectrum from acceptance, to tolerance, to ambivalence, to rejection.
19 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Th e four sections of the literature review provide a comprehensive overview of the key issues and relevant research. The review will first address the social movement associated with LGB rights and how the movement has progressed in addressing LGB issues. Th e LGB T movement which refers to LGB individuals and Transgender individuals, is important to address because the movement provides insight to why the coming out process for LGB individuals is not only d ifficult when coming out to family but also the diff iculty LGB individ uals face being out within society. The second section will summarize the research on the importance of s upport for LGB students on a college campus, to gain more understanding of the college experience of LGB students. The third section addresses the family impact on youth development, including LGB student adjustment to college and satisfaction with the college experience, concluding with the observation that there is a dearth of research on the role of the family in the LGB Finally, the literature review discusses the theoretical perspective that guides this The Progression of the LGB Rights Social Movement The history of the LGB movement dates back to 1969, arguably with the Stonewall 26). There was division within the movement as to whether there should be a single issue gay identity movement or a social justice and liberation movement that would incorporate gay and lesbian concerns. In particular, the New Left, a group dominated by college students that gained ground in the 1960s and 1970s, generally advocated
20 radical changes in government, politics, and society, and began to encourage its gay and lesbian supporters to come out (Bernstein, 1997 & Ghaziani, 2008). This was an early sign that the gay movement aimed to relay that being gay and o ut was acceptable. There were four marches between 1979 2000 that represented the rights of LGB individuals and showcased the goals of the LGB movement. The first national march in 1979 was structured to resolve some of the previous divisiveness by being d eliberately inclusive and offering men, women, people of color and third world gays a voice and clear presence. However, there were divisions over racism, classism, and regionalism There was also conflict over whether Transgender people, who are defined a ph ( http://geneq.berkeley.edu/lgbt_resources_defini ton_of_terms ), should be included in the demands for the movement. Ultimately, t he leaders of the march voted against the inclusion of transgendered individuals. By the early 1980s, activists called for a second national march to draw attention to the urg ency of the HIV/AIDS epidemic rapidly spreading through the gay community. With the government ignoring the need for help, the 1980s march was by design intended to be more aggressive and more political than the Stonewall Riots. More radical organizations were created, such as the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power ( ACT UP ) which advocated for the rights of lesbian and gay individuals through protests and other initiatives Im portantly, this march resulted in October 11 th being designated as Natio nal Coming O ut Day inviting all LGB individuals to come out or celebrate their coming out (Ghaziani, 2008).
21 Gay life in the late 1980s and early 1990s had reached mainstream America through increasing media coverage (Ghaziani, 2008). The third march occurred in 1993 and was aimed at equal rights and liberation for lesbian, gay and bisexual persons. The were special rights; against political policies opposing gay rights, specifical Act, which defined marriage in federal law as between a man and a woman. These events may have opposed the gay rights movement, but, during the same time more celebrities and political figures began to come out as being gay and public awareness and acceptance of LGB ind ividuals increased (PEW Research 2011). The NAACP endorsed this march, a step widely viewed as a landmark moment for the movement because it showed common interest in protecting the civil rights of all marginalized people between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement (Ghaziani, 2008). By the turn of the 21 st century, gay life had widely entered the med ia spotlight (Ghaziani, 2008). More TV shows and movies with gay characters appeared, and entertainers and other celebrities came out to the public. Although it seemed that the country as a whole was moving toward greater tolerance of gays and lesbians, ga y rights disputes continued in the states, in gay marriage protests, in state constitutional amendments limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, and in the proliferation of hate crimes against gay and lesbian people. Nevertheless, while anti gay bills we re presented in state legislatures, on average there were more pro gay bills passed than anti gay bills (Ghaziani, 2008). Today the goals of the LGB T movement are not as
22 focused on single issues as they were in the early years of the movement. As progress on core rights has continued, groups have arisen to advocate for specific interests. For instance, the goals of various LGB T rights groups, according to the National LGBT Task Force, include, among others: Legalization of same sex marriage, passage of anti discrimination laws specifically protecting LGB T individuals, greater attention to issues relevant to LGB T persons of color, advocacy for LGB T parents and families, and protection of LGB T young people from harassment and bullying. Although the movement h as not seen a large LGB march since the year 2000, advocacy for LGB rights has continued through organized efforts to address specific issues. The history of the progression of the LGB movement shows that although LGB individuals can be more open today, so ciety has made it increasingly difficult for the LGB individual to come out to their family, friends and community due to the lack of rights in government and society when compared to heterosexual persons. Importance of Support and Connectedness on a Coll ege Campus Like most people and young adults, LGB college students want to feel connected to others and to share their life experiences as they begin to form intimate committed partnerships. However, research indicates that LGB students tend to be more dis connected from circles of support, and this lack of connection is associated with increased susceptibility to suicide (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008). Research indicates that LGB young adults are more likely to commit suicide or have suicidal th oughts when co mpared to heterosexual young adults ( Suicide Preve ntion Resource Center, 2008). sense of belonging and satisfaction with their college experience. A study of a diver se
23 767), finding accep that a university setting is more supportive of LGB students than in high school community of di This article also advocates that a change of attitude and perception is needed to remove or prevent the barriers to acceptance that LGB college students face and that a more accepting environment on the college campus w ill be beneficial to the development of the LGB student. Other research (Longerbeam, Inkelas, Johnson, & Lee, 2007) f ound that there were certain groups that heterosexual and non heterosexual individuals fit into such as heterosexuals focused predominatel y on sports and non heterosexual s focused primarily on art Longerbeam et al. (2007) state d arassment or homophobic remarks, and toward LGB students still report the research report also indicated th at graduate students [rated] their campus as homophobic, and 60% of LGB students (p. 216)
24 At the same time, findings indicated that LG B students perceived the college community as supportive when they were surrounded by supportive people (Longerbeam, Inkelas, Johnson, & Lee, 2007). Based on the finding s on community connectedness and support LGB students need to feel their campus provid es a sense of a supportive community in order to develop personally and academically ( Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008) Family Impact on LGB Young Adult s Unquestionably, the quality of the family environment and degree of parental support offered are pivotal in facilitating positive adolescent and young adult development for any young person. Darby Mullins & Murdock (2007) aptly state that development, and various aspec ts of family relationships have been found to predict Because LGB college students are often isolated from their peers and community ( Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008) their families may play a particularly important role in providing the support, assistance with positive development (Darby Mullins & Murdock, 2007). Isolation deprives LGB youth of important sources of emotional suppor t and increases the risk of depression and suicide. For instance, isolation comes in the work sphere when LGB persons feel isolated and discriminated against at their jobs when their sexuality is inferred or has been disclosed (Miller, 2011). In addition, isolation from the community, family, and friends is associated with higher levels of drug and substance abuse (Weber, 2008). Furthermore, suicides among LGB individuals may also increase feelings of isolation, as LGB i ndividuals fear discrimination. Detri e and
25 Importantly, research also indicates that jection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal 2009 p. 349 ). While research documents the risks that LGB people face due to the lack of family acceptance of their sexual orientation (Detrie & Lease, 2007; Darby Mullins & Murdock, 2 007), research also indicates that family acceptance risk of isolation in their community (Detrie &Lease, 2007) In their research with a perceived social support from friends and family were positively correlated with social nd that the social support of family and friends decrease d the risk of depression. Overall among LGB adolescents, research indicates that the feeling of isolation from the community impacts sexual orientation, esp ecially among LGB adolescents (Darby Mullins & Murdock, 2007) Consequently, development. Theoretical Framework The researcher use d two theories to frame the research questions and hypotheses. The fir st theory was was Symbolic Interactionism.
26 The Student Experience of a Research University (SERU) survey measures overall college experience based on the following compone nts such as, Academic Engagement, Academic and Personal Development, Campus Climate for Diversity, Overall Satisfaction, Evaluation of Major, Background and Personal Characteristics, Activi ties, Global E ngagement, Goals and Aspirations, Perceptions and Cam pus Climate, Mental Health and Wellness, Group Identification, Items of special interest, and Academic Experience and Globalization. the more satisfying their college experience will be. Astin defines student involvement as the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the a student develops once they Involvement explains the dynamics of how students change or develop over time, relative to their collective experiences while in college T e nvironment, and 3) outcomes. The inputs dimension examines the constructs related to student demographics and their prior educational and personal backgrounds. The environment dimension examines the constructs related to the experiences students immerse th emselves in during college and the impact those experiences have on their development. The outcomes dimension examines the constructs related to the resulting characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and values that emerge in the years after a stude nt completes college (Astin, 1984). The inputs, environment and outcome create
27 a model that explains the college ex perience process of students. Thus, the researcher would like to use this model to ex plain the college experience of LGB students. Research i ndicates that researchers have used the Theory of Involvement and have added to the theory. The table below shows the scholars that have used the Theory of Involvement, after Astin and summarizes the findings that added the development of the theory The researcher will use a model (Figure 2 1) which consists variables (indicated with squares) and the researchers to measure the hypotheses and re search questions as it pertains to the SERU survey. Symbolic Interactionism The researcher utilized the readings of Allan (2007 ) and LaRossa & Reitzes (1993) to further understand the concepts behind the theory. There were two main theorists that contribut ed to this theory, George Herbert Mead and his student Herbert Blumer. Allan (2007 ) states that Mead believes (p. 141) m eaning that they act based on impulse, perception of their environment, and manipulation of their m ind to act in an appropriate manner in society. Mead believe d that human action is based on meanin g and that natural signs and significant gestures natural experiences 2007 p. 142) with natural signs defined through a relationship between the sign and its object. Significant gestures or symbols become p.142). Meaning is determined by how the person acts and defines an object. A social object is the meaning; action and objective availability of symbols are produced in social interaction. Therefore, any idea or thing can be a social object (Allan, 2007 p. 143).
28 Research supports Mead s perspective on symbolic interactionism in that humans learn to understand and give meaning to the world by interacting with others ( LaRossa & Reitzes, 1993; Allan, 2007 ) This is where meaning emerges and the social object of the meaning is stated. Acco rding to Mead the mind is a kind of behavior that involves five different abilities (Allan, 2007 p. 145): to use symbols to denote objects to use symbols as its own stimulus , to suspend response (not act out stimulus) Mead further argues that the mind evolves as the social interaction comes to live inside the indivi dual (Mead, 1934; Allan, 2007 ). Mead discus se d the development of self which is achieved through role taking. Role taking is a process where the person places themselves in the role of another person to see yourself. To understand this concept better, an article addressing marriage counseling used Mead s idea of role taking. The couple talked and each spouse took the place of the other spouse to better understand themselves. Allan (2007 ) makes the distinction between role taking and role making, stating that role taking is putting ourselves in the position of the other in order to see how they want us to act. The creation of a symbolic self takes place through three stages of role taking. The play stage is where the person takes on the viewpoint of a significant person. The game stage is where the p erson takes on the characteristics of others but still stay as individuals. The generalized other stage is where the viewpoint of several other people
29 an individua l may take toward himself or herself (the general attitude or perspective of a community p. 147). Mead believes that people have an identity or self because society calls for it through social interaction exist objectively outside the concrete interactions of people, as other theorist such as Durkheim or Marx would have it p. 149). is created through symbolic interaction first with family, next with playmates, then in institutions like schools. With further research utilizing Social Interactionism theory LaRossa and Reitzes (1993) make assumptions about the self and the family. These assumptions along with the concepts of Mead will help to determine whether the LGB student places meaning on the family reaction to define themselves and their college experience. Social Interactionism Assumption related to Family : LaRossa & Reitzes (1993 ), pp. 143 144, indicated t he following assumptions about S ocial Interactionism theory, Individuals are not born with a sense of self but develop self concepts through social interaction Self concept is developed through the process of interaction and c ommunication with others Self concept is shaped by the reactions of significant others and by our perceptions of their reactions Self concept, once developed, provides a
30 Self fulfilling prophecy is the tendency for our expectations of us to evoke expected responses Humans interact and develop roles in the family according to symb ols used to These roles are based on the symbolic meaning attached to each role. The resear cher will use this theory when analyzing the focus group sessions and attempt to make connections with the theoretical concepts and the themes that arise from the focus group sessions.
31 Table 2 Theorist Variable/Concept Added to The ory Citation Ernest T. Pascarella Found that student involvement, such as residential living, attending campus events, participation in extra curricular activities, and interaction with faculty outside the classroom have a positive impact on critical thi nking skills. Pascarella, E.T. (1987). The development of critical thinking: Does college make a difference ? ASHE Annual Meeting Paper. Presented November 21 24, 1987 at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in Baltimore, MD. Shouping Hu and George Kuh Explored diversity issues in student involvement, showing that student interaction outside of a traditional classroom environment is critical to positive exchanges between white majority students and students of color. H u, S. & Kuh, G. (2003). Diversity experiences and college student learning and personal development. Journal of College Student Development, 44 (3), 329 334. Vincent Tinto success: high expectations, support (aca demic, social, and financial), feedback (early and often), and involvement and engagement in and out of the classroom. Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Anthony L. Antonio Added interpersonal relationships in diverse campus settings in of Involvement. Antonio, A. (2004). The Influence of friendship groups on intellectual self confidence and educational asp irations in college. The Journal of Higher Education Vol. 75, No. 4 (Jul. Aug., 2004), pp. 446 471) Lamont A. Flowers involvement in examining the College Student Experiences Questionnaire, he did an analysis of Af rican American students to determine the impact of student involvement on their cognitive, social, and vocational development. He found that connecting with faculty, social interaction with peers, participation in music and art programs, and membership in student organizations positively affected the cognitive and social development of African American collegians. Flowers, L. A. (2004). Examining the effects of student involvement on African American college development. Journal of College Student Developme nt, 45 (6), 633 654.
32 Figure 2 1.
33 CHAPTER 3 METHODS reaction to coming out and its impact on their college experience. T he study takes a and their college experiences. This chapter will explain how the study was conducted, including the research design, data collection methods, and d ata analysis. Research Design The research design for this study was a mixed methods design encompassing quantitative and qualitative methods. Researchers have found that using this design helps to explain both the process and outcome of a phenomenon (John son & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). The quantitative portion of the study used the data obtained from LGB students through an already established national survey, known as the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey, discussed further below. The qualitative portion of the study gathered in depth information to answer the research e ough a series of focus groups. Focus groups were considered appropriate and useful in this case because they could be used to provide in depth information about how family response to coming out influences the college experience from the point o f view of the college student. Focus groups also would allow the researcher to include LGB students from different backgrounds to express their thoughts, thereby capturing a diversity of experiences. Importantly, the focus group approach would allow for the emergence of cultural
34 variations in the college experience and other experiences that might otherwise be overlooked. For ease of understanding, the methods section is divided into two parts, one on the use of the SERU survey data and the second on the focus groups. Each part contains subsections covering sample selection, data collection, and data analysis. SERU Survey Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) In 2001, the University of California (UC) Berkeley created the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES), which later became known as SERU. The purpose of this survey was to study student experiences at research universities across the U.S. and to track changes in this exper ience over time. The survey was first administered online in 2002 by UC Berkeley to students enrolled in classes on its 8 undergraduate campuses. In 2008, SERU expanded to several ersity of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Rutgers University, University of Florida, University of Pittsburgh, University of Oregon, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Southern California, and The University of University of Minnesota, 2011 para 3 ). The University of Florida first implemented the SERU survey in 2009 and conducted the most recent survey in 2011 ( Office of Institutional Planning and Research, 2009). of Involvement was used to guide the selection of items for analysis from the SERU survey. SERU provided information that enabled the researcher to students of color and LGB
35 data from SERU, the researcher generated the number and percent of LGB students on of various aspects of the college experience. Data Collection Sample selection When considering sample selection, the theoretical population was all LGB undergraduate college students. The accessible population was LGB undergraduate college students at th frame is a list of units of analysis from which you take a sample and to which you SERU student respond ents. The Office of Institutional Planning and Research at the University of Florida compiled the answers to the SERU survey into a data set, p ertaining to selected questions There were 19,508 UF respondents with 962, or 5%, identifying as lesbian, gay, a nd bisexual, transgender and queer students. Instrumentation The appropriate questions from the existing SERU survey were selected to enable the researcher to address the first set of research questions and hypotheses. The selected survey questions inclu de: sexual orientation, racial and ethnic categorization, gender, and satisfaction with the college experience. The specific ite ms can be found in Appendix A. The selected items were used to address the following hypotheses: LGB students will be less sati sfied with their college experience than heterosexual students. LGB students of color will report lower levels of satisfaction with the college experience than white LGB students.
36 SERU was previously tested for reliability and content validity ( Chatman, 20 11), yielding consistency or inter reliability based on Cronbach's alpha and factor analy sis. The authors reported that coefficient alpha ranged from 0.92 for Satisfaction with Educational Experien ce (Factor 1) to 0.53 for Quantitative Professions (Factor 8) and all sub factor reliability estimates survey provided adequate information to answer the hypotheses and res earch questions. Procedure Permissions to analyze the SERU data for the purposes of this study were obtained from the Office of Institutional Planning and Research (2009), with the Board and compiled into a data set by an analyst with the University of Florida Office of Institutional Planning and Research. The researcher then selected questions that connectedness, and involvement (Appendix A). Then the researcher analyzed the data as explained below. Data analysis The SERU data were analyzed using descriptive statistic s, specifically comparing the means of LGB students and heterosexual students on the UF campus, the means of students of color, the means of LGB students by gender, and the means in each category (LGB, heterosexual, students of color, and gender) satisfied with the college experience. Inferential statistics were used to test for between and within group
37 differences, specifically significant differences between heterosexual and LGB students on satisfaction with the college experience; LGB men and women and h eterosexual men and women on satisfaction with the college experience; and LGB persons of color and heterosexual students on satisfaction with the college experience. Focus Groups The purpose of a focus group is to gain a deeper understanding of participa nts' views and experiences, their feelings, perceptions, beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes about the topic of a study. As Wutich and colleagues (2009) explain, focus groups are useful for collecting in depth data, exploring participant perspectives related understanding of group dynamics (p. 90). Rather than being a tool to gather information, focus group sessions are designed to illuminate previously obscured knowledge through collaborative group discussions about personal perceptions and experiences. The use of focus groups allows for the collection of substantive, in depth data related to the l., 2009). Data Collection Sample selection As stated previously, when considering sample selection, the theoretical population was all LGB undergraduate college students. The accessible population was LGB undergraduate college students at the University o f Florida. The sampling frame for the focus groups was participants in several campus organizatio ns geared toward LGB students. A request for voluntary participation in the study focus groups was sent in an email to the following campus list serves: PRIDE, which encompasses LGB student leaders; LGBT Affairs, which encompasses students and faculty interested in
38 LGBT rights; and the Department of Housing and Residence Education, which encompasses all on campus undergraduate students (Appendix C). Because this research is interested in the experiences of LGB students depending on the standpoint of gender and background, every effort was made to ensure that diverse participants were included (men, women, Asian, African American, Latino, Caribbean, and White), Ap pendix D shows how the participants signed up and how the researcher screened certain individuals from attending the sessions. Three focus groups of 3 8 people per group were conducted. Instrumentation The focus group instrumentation was a structured guide based on a focus group protocol that addressed the following hypotheses. 1. LGB students who perceive their family as accepting during the coming out process will have a more positive college experience than LGB students whose parents are non accepting. 2. LGB students who perceive their family as non accepting during the coming out process will experience more thoughts or attempts of suicide than LGB students who perceive their family as accepting. 3. LGB students of color will report lower levels of perceived fa mily acceptance than LGB white students. The questions used to structure the focus group were based on a preliminary study conducted by the author of this thesis when enrolled in a graduate course on student assessment. The class project utilized the Coll ege Student Experience Questionnaire (CSEQ) (Pace & Kuh, 1998), which is voluntarily administered by several universities to undergraduates to help better understand the college climate. The CSEQ survey "measures the quality of student experiences, percept ions of the campus environment, and the progress toward important educational goals" ( Indiana University
39 Bloomington 2007) The CSEQ survey is an institutional assessment that entails rigorous sampling and methodology (Breciani et al., 2004, p. 52). Accor ding to the research on CSEQ conducted by the State University of New York at New Paltz (n.d), and concluded through a series of statistical analyses (i.e., factor an alysis and blocked hierarchical regression analysis), that both content and construct validity are the class project, and distributed to students via the UF PRIDE orga nization and the Department of Housing and Residence Education, with a response rate of 41 LGB students. This procedure enabled the researcher to pretest the value of the selected questions for this thesis project (Appendix E). The preliminary test of the CSEQ questions was considered a cognitive testing protocol the methodology for pretesting can apply to focus group protocols as well. In t he cognitive test, the researcher seeks to minimize systematic measurement error caused by problems with question comprehension, processing, or communication that lead to dy of the question and a survey, the researcher noted which questions did not receive consistent answer s, thereby indicating that these questions needed to be removed or changed. This preliminary test allowed for the researcher to identify the questions that seemed vague,
40 confusing, or uncomfortable to answer, and to make changes to increase the reliability and validity of this instrumentation. Thus, the information the survey yielded was helpful as a basis for the focus group questions. Breen (2006) says that pretesting (or pilot p. 469). Changes to the original cognitive test are presented in Appendix F. design a question that can be understood by all respondents, in the same way, and in a careful wording of questions will solve disputes about clarity. The results suggested strong content validi ty, and the same questions were used in the pretest were used to guide the focus group discussion, but with more in depth questions added so participants co uld expand on their responses. Procedure The use of focus groups in this research was expected to en courage a wide scope of ideas to emerge about the impact of the family's reaction on the LGB students' college experience. The design of the focus group concentrated on providing opportunities for participants to answer and discuss the questions verbally a nd thus provide the content for analysis, while also making note of the emotions, body language, contradictions, and tensions of the participants. This allowed for a further cts (Krueger and Casey, 2000). The focus group began with a short icebreaker and was followed by a semi structured interview and discussion among the participants to gain a wide range of ideas in response to the questions.
41 Ice Breaker Purpose: The purpose of this icebreaker wa s to have the participants feel more comfortable with one another and to get to know each other by name. The participants stated their names and then an adjective beginning with the first letter of their first name. The participants also identified their s exual orientation during their introduction. This icebreaker took 5 minutes. The facilitator created and used a facilitator's guide (Appendix G) to assist with the discussions. An observer was present to tape record the discussions and to type a summary of the responses so that the facilitator or participants could reference the overall statements discussed for a particular question during the focus group, if needed. Stewart, Shamdasani, and Rook (2007) explain that questions not only pl ay an important role in getting answers to a research question, but they also set the tone for group interaction. Opening questions in particular may make participants uneasy, defensive, or excited. The questions were carefully chosen, designed to be open ended, and consisted of many different types of questions (topical, leading, feel, and obtuse), as Stewart, Shamdasani, and Rook (2007) recommended. According to Breen (2006), it is important to overcome ethical issues that may arise because the topic may be uncomfortable or evoke sensitivities for participants. As Breen (2006) suggests, the questions chosen should establish rapport, avoid bias, and put participants at ease. This procedure was a step to help to ensure validity, reliability, and organizatio n of facilitator was to conduct the focus group discussion. The second part of this procedure sured
42 the reliability of the data discussed during the focus group session. The observer was provided details on the study, including the purpose, the literature already known on this topic, and the theoretical framework. The facilitator provided a handout of the definition of terms and the questions and the answers were to be summarized by the observer if the participants needed clarification focus groups; the guide along with the observations from the obse rver was used to understand the measurements of the variables. A summary of the questions, if needed during the session, permitted the observer to understand the discussion. Importantly, the double checking of meaning at various points in the focus group p rocess increases the validity of the process by allowing participants to clarify or add to results (Stewart, notes increases the reliability of results (Onwuegbuzi et al., 200 9). Each session also included a counselor from the counseling and wellness center as a resource for the students throughout and after the session. The researcher also included a handout of additional resources at the end of the session to each participan t (Appendix H). Data Analysis Focus group data were audio recorded by the observer and transcribed by the interviewer. Text data were analyzed using a systematic procedure to identify themes and address research hypotheses. Thematic analysis was also used to identify which con cepts, categories and themes, compared and contrasted particip (Kossak, 2005). Line by line open coding was used as the fi rst step to organize the data. After this open coding was completed, concepts were identified, gro uped into categories, and then grouped into themes. The open coding procedure enabled both
43 testing of hypotheses and identification of emergent patterns and relations among In addition to the focus group procedures described above, validity was strengthened through two coder consultation. The researcher developed the coding concepts, and the adviser reviewed the code book. Limitations One limitation of the SERU survey is tha t registration for football tickets was used as an incentive for students to complete the survey. Thus, students may have rushed through the survey just to be eligible for tickets. Furthermore, the data may have reflected the views of football fans, as stu dents who were not football fans did not have an incentive to complete the survey. Despite this limitation, the response rate of 60% of all undergraduate students indicates that a large and representative sample of UF undergraduate students took part in th e survey. A second possible limitation is social desirability bias (Fisher, 1993), which may lead to measurement error. Social desirability bias occurs when a participant provides responses that they believe will be more socially acceptable than what their thoughts and feelings really are. It is believed that social desirability is the most common source of bias and can seriously compromise the validity of results (Fisher, 1993). As Poland and Pederson (1998) explain, silence is an important component of re search in which speech is the main mode of gathering data. Silence from a participant during an interview can reveal several things, including resistance, discomfort, lack of knowledge, and misunderstanding. It may be difficult to interpret the participant focus group, but leaders will be mindful to be alert to this form of communication so they can draw out participants and invite them to share the reasons for their silence. Certain
44 procedural issues are often encountered in focus grou ps. In this focus group, these were addressed as presented in Table 3 1. Another possible limitation is in the selection of participants. The selection of participants depended on only gaining access to LGB students. Because lists of housing residents and club members were used, only UF LGB students living on campus or active in the campus community through organizations and campus clubs were contacted. Consequently, LGB students living off campus and not active in campus clubs and organizations may not hav e received notices of the opportunity to participate, unless contacted by a friend.
45 Table 3 1. Addressing Procedural Issues Suggested phrases for getting discussion back on track Create steering questions, so the observers could write down the information that was needed to measure what we were looking for Suggested ways to reduce dominance Encourage members of the focus group to participate and allow for silence. This will allow the observers to write down information from a variety of group members. Ways to draw out shy or reluctant members The facilitator will use probing questions that will be inclusive to the participants so that the shy participants fell included. This will allow the observers to record the view of these participants.
46 CHAPTE R 4 RESULTS This chapter presents the results in two parts, first the outcomes of the data analysis based on the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey, the chapter presents the findings of the focus group discussions that probed for a deeper understanding of participants' views and experiences as a college student, and their perceptions of the major influences on their experiences. SERU Survey For this s tudy the researcher defined the outcome variable, college experience, as involvement in clubs/organizations, connectedness to the university community, and involvement in academics ( Indiana University Bloomington 2007) The researcher selected several que stions from the existing SERU survey that measured the three components included in this definition of the college experience. There were 19,508 participants that took this survey; 253 identified as bisexual, 306 identified as gay/lesbian, and 17,941 ident ified as heterosexual. A factor analysis was conducted on the items of each question to see if the items could be combined to create one variable. The researcher ran a factor analysis on items similar to Academic Experience; initially Question 1 had seven items, Question 2 had five items, Question 3 had nine items, Question 4 had five items, Question 5 had four items and Question 6 had ten items. After a principal components factor analysis on each of these, the researcher combined like items. The concept behind principal components factor analysis is to find the average variance amongst like items to create one variable so that results are presented efficiently. The summary below explains the
47 factor analysis and principal component analysis process using t he Statistical Package for the Social Sciences ( SPSS ) program to reduce the number of variables: Question 1 indicated that all seven items were measuring the same construct. The principal component analysis indicated a range of factor loadings from .6 to 8 on a single component. Items were combined to create one variable called Academic Class Involvement. Question 2 indicated that all five items were measuring the same construct. The principal component analysis indicated a range of factor loadings from .5 to .8 on a single component. Items were combined to create one variable called Connectedness to Faculty. Question 3 indicated that the nine items loaded on two components thus suspected to be measuring different constructs. Five items loaded on the first component (item loadings on factor ranging from .6 to .7) that were combined to create one variable called Overachieving in Class The remaining four items loaded onto a second factor (factor loadings ranging from .6 to .8) that were combined to create on e variable called Underachieving in Class. Question 4 indicated that all five items were measuring the same construct. The principal component factor loadings ranged from .7 to .8 on the single factor. Items were combined to create one variable called Stud ent Development in Diversity and Self Awareness. Question 5 indicated that all four items were measuring the same construct. The principal component factor loadings ranged from .6 to .8 on the single factor. Items were combined to create one variable call ed Satisfaction with UF Education. Question 6 indicated that all ten items were measuring the same construct. The principal component factor loadings ranged from .7 to .9 on the single factor. Items were combined to create one variable called Recognizing a nd Coping with Different Views. Variables were created by totaling the initial item scores (all on the same scale) and creating a variable from the mean value across item scores. The researcher repeated these steps for all variables and items from the Com munity Connectedness and Club/Organization Involvement selected questions. Presented in Table 4 1 are the number of items that measured Academic Involvement, Community Connectedness and
48 Club/Organization Involvement of the students, based on factor loading s from the principal component analyses. Once items were combined into single variables, one way ANOVAs were conducted including sexual orientation, gender, and race/ethnicity to answer the research hypotheses and to see if there was a significant differe nce among the variables. This test was used because descriptive variables of sexual orientation, gender and race/ethnicity are Nominal, so the best tests to conduct in using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) program to understand the s ignificant difference between the variables are ANOVA One way (for interval like data) and Chi square t test (for interval like data). For this research report, the ANOVA One way test was used over the Chi square t test. The dependent variables are the var iables consisting of combined items, for example, Academic Class Involvement; and the independent variables are sexual orientation, gender, and race/ethnicity. Sexual Orientation Academic experience Table 4 2 and Table 4 3 show the means, F value, df valu e, and significance between groups for LGB students and heterosexual students based on the combined A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of sexual orientati on items measuring the Academic Experience). There was a significant effect of the sexual orientation variable on the Academic Experience item at the p<.05 level for Aca demic Class Involvement [F (1, 17891) =
49 25.415, p =.000]. LGB students reported a greater satisfaction (M=3.7896) for their Academic Class Involvement than heterosexual students (M= 3.5637). There was a significant effect of the sexual orientation variable on the Academic Experience item at the p<.05 level for Connectedness to Faculty [F (1, 18054) = 10.508, p =.001]. LGB students reported a greater satisfaction (M=3.1502) with their Connection to Faculty than heterosexual students (M= 3.0019). There was a significant effect of the sexual orientation on the Academic Experience item at the p<.05 level for Overachieving in Class [F (1, 17938) = 7.435, p =.006]. LGB students reported less satisfaction (M=3.6195) for Overachieving in Class than heterosexual stud ents (M= 3.7381). There was a significant effect of the sexual orientation variable on the Academic Experience item at the p<.05 level for Underachieving in Class [F (1, 18202) = 44.018, p =.000]. LGB students reported a greater satisfaction (M=2.6943) for Underachieving in Class than heterosexual students (M= 2.4513). There was a significant effect of the sexual orientation variable on the Academic Experience item at the p<.05 level for Satisfaction with UF Education [F (1, 18261) = 35.038, p =.000]. LGB s tudents reported less satisfaction (M=4.3198) with UF Education than heterosexual students (M= 4.5454). There was not a significant effect of the sexual orientation variable on the Academic Experience item at the p<.05 level for Academic class Student Deve lopment on Diversity and Self Awareness [F (1, 18065) = 3.622, p =.057]. There was also not a significant effect of sexual orientation on Academic Experience at the p<.05 level for Recognizing and Coping with Different Views [F (1, 3318) = 1.435, p =.231].
50 Community connectedness Table 4 4 and Table 4 5 show the means, F value, df value, and significance between groups for LGB students and heterosexual students based on the combined ity. A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of sexual community (consisting of 7 items measuring the connectedness to the community). There was a si to the community item at the p<.05 level for Respect of Others Beliefs [F (1, 18121) = 27.145, p =.000]. LGB students reported less satisfaction (M=4.5262) for their view of whether Resp ect of Others Beliefs are present on campus than heterosexual students (M= 4.8761). connectedness to the community item at the p<.05 level for Expression of Beliefs [F (1, 18368) = 8 .874, p =.003]. LGB students reported a greater satisfaction (M=4.8761) for their view on whether there is freedom for Expression of Beliefs on campus than heterosexual students (M= 4.7457). There was a significant effect of the sexual orientation on the s connectedness to the community item at the p<.05 level for Connection to Campus [F (1, 18326) = 66.662, p =.000]. LGB students reported less satisfaction (M=4.6733) for their Connection to Campus than heterosexual students (M= 5.0397). There was a to the community item at the p<.05 level for Supportive Faculty [F (1, 18215) = 10.154,
51 p =.001]. LGB students reported a greater satisfaction (M=1.1476) for Supportive Faculty than h eterosexual students (M= 1.1176). connectedness to the community item at the p<.05 level for Interaction with a Diverse Group of People [F (1, 3315) = 21.352, p =.000]. LGB students reported a greater satisfaction (M=4.5252) for their Interaction with a Diverse Group of People than heterosexual students (M= 4.0441). connectedness to the community item at the p<.05 level for Social Campus Climate [F (1, 3658) = .201, p =.654] and Academic Campus Climate [F (1, 3736) = 1.391, p =.238]. Involvement Table 4 6 and Table 4 7 show the means, F value, df value, and significance between groups for LGB students and het erosexual students based on the combined A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of sexual orientation ment (consisting of 5 items involvement item at the p<.05 level for Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement [F (1, 3429) = 5.705, p = .017]. LGB students reported less involvement or satisfaction (M=2.8426) for their involvement in Advocacy and Performance Organizations than heterosexual students (M= 2.8998).
52 invol vement item at the p<.05 level for Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement [F (1, 3484) = 6.902, p =.009]. LGB students reported a greater involvement or satisfaction (M=2.8288) for their involvement in Student Government and Greek Organizati ons than heterosexual students (M= 2.6970). involvement item at the p<.05 level for Religious and Off Campus Organization Involvement [F(1, 3283) = .024, p =.877], Academic Organ ization Involvement [F(1, 3497) = .082, p =.774] and Sports and Recreational Involvement [F(1, 3468) = .049, p =.824]. Overall the results revealed that the academic experience is less satisfying for heterosexual students than LGB students for the selected items and variables measured. The results indicated that out of the 20 variables that measured the three college experience components (academic experience, community connectedness and involvement) only 12 variables indicated a significant difference. The results indicate that out of the 12 significantly different variables, LGB students reported higher levels of satisfaction in 7 variables compared to heterosexual students who reported higher levels in only 5 variables. Since there are slightly more repor ts of higher levels of satisfaction with the college experience among LGB students than heterosexual students, it must be inferred that LGB students are more or less satisfied with their college experience.
53 Gender Academic experience Table 4 8 and Table 4 9 show the means, F value, df value, and significance between groups for gay men and lesbian women based on the combined items and A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of gender (gay men and lesbian women academic experience). There was not a significant effect of gender on academic experience at the p<.05 level for Academic Class Invol vement [F(1, 537) = .084, p =.772], Connectedness to Faculty [F(1, 544) = 1.115, p =.292], Overachieving in Class [F(1, 550) = .736, p =.391], Underachieving in Class [F(1, 531) = .373, p =.542], Student Development in Diversity and Self Awareness [F(1, 54 3) = 2.143, p =.144], Satisfaction with UF Education [F(1, 553) = .236, p =.628] and Recognizing and Coping with Different View s [F(1, 100) = .186, p =.667]. Overall none of the variables showed a significant difference between gay men and lesbian women. C ommunity connectedness Table 4 10 and Table 4 11 show the means, F value, df value and significance between groups for men and women based on the combined items and variables that A one way between subject s ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of gender (gay men and lesbian women students)
54 There was not a significant effect of gend er on Connectedness to Community items at the p<.05 level for Respect of Others Beliefs [F(1, 545) = .600, p =.439], Expression of Beliefs [F(1, 551) = .092, p =.761], Connection to Campus [F (1, 552) = .237, p =.627], Interaction with Diverse Group of Peo ple [F(1, 105) =.252, p =.617], Social Campus Climate [F (1, 116) = 1.451, p =.231] and Academic Campus Climate [F(1, 120) = .613, p =.435]. There was a significant effect of gender on Connectedness to Community at the p<.05 level for Supportive Faculty [F (1, 545) = 4.360, p =.037]. Gay men students reported a greater satisfaction for Supportive Faculty (M=1.1664) than lesbian women students (M=1.1229) Involvement Table 4 12 and Table 4 13 show the means, F value, df value and significance between groups for gender based on the combined items and variables that define the A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of gender (gay men and lesbian women) on the (consisting of 5 items measu ring the ). There was not a significant effect of gende at the p<.05 level for Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement [F (1, 105) = .391, p =.533], Student Government and Greek Organization Inv olvement [F (1, 108) = 2.843, p =.095], Academic Organization Involvement [F (1, 110) = 1.182, p =.279], Religious and Other Campus Involvement [F (1, 105) = 2.175, p =.143] and Sports and Recreational Involvement [F (1, 107) = .3556, p =.458].
55 Race/Ethnic ity Academic experience Table 4 14 and Table 4 15 show the means, F value, df value and significance between groups for several race/ethnicity groups based on the combined items and A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of race/ethnicity (LGB students of color measuring the academic experience). There was not a significant effect of race /ethnicity on academic experience at the p<.05 level for Academic Class Involvement [F(6, 532) = 1.527, p =.167], Connectedness to Faculty [F(6, 539) = 1.279, p =.265], Overachieving in Class [F(6, 545) = .322, p =.926], Underachieving in Class [F(6, 526) = .322, p =.926], Student Development in Diversity and Self Awareness [F(6, 538) = 1.241, p =.283] and Recognizing and Coping with Different Vie ws [F(6, 97) = .570, p =.685]. There was a significant effect of the race/ethnicity on academic experience item at the p<.05 level for Satisfaction with UF Education [F(6, 548) = 3.253, p =.004]. The results show that race had an effect on Satisfaction with UF Education with a greater satisfaction among LGB White students (M= 4.4189) than LGB African American (M=3.9 202), LGB Chicano Latino (M=4.3624), LGB Asian Filipino Pacific (M=3.9063) and LGB International Foreign Visa (M=3.2500) students. However, LGB American Indian Alaskan students expressed more Satisfaction with UF Education (M=4.7500) than LGB White student s (M= 4.4189).
56 Community connectedness Table 4 16 and Table 4 17 show the means, F value, df value and significance between groups for several race/ethnicity groups based on the combined items and unity. A one way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of race/ethnicity (LGB students of color VS LGB white students) on the (consisting of 7 items measuring the ity ). There was not a significant effect of the race/ethnicity on community connectedness item at the p<.05 level for Expression of Beliefs [F(6, 546) = 1.478, p =.183], Connection to Campus [F(6, 547) = 1.392, p =.216], Supportive Faculty [F(6, 540) = .3 59, p =.905], Interaction with a diverse Group of People [F(4, 102) = .423, p =.792], Social Campus Climate [F(5, 112) = .275, p =.926] and Academic Campus Climate [F(5, 116) = 1.429, p =.219]. There was a significant effect of gender on Connectedness to C ommunity items at the p<.05 level for Respect of Others Beliefs [F (6, 540) = 4.476, p =.000]. The results show that Respect of Others Beliefs has less satisfaction among LGB African American (M= 4.0095 ), LGB Asian Filipino Pacific (M= 4.1429 ) and LGB Intern ational Foreign Visa (M= 2.4286) students than LGB White Students (M=4.6084). There is greater satisfaction of a Respect of Others Beliefs among LGB American Indian Alaskan (M= 4.9143 ) and LGB Chicano Latino (M= 4.6595 ) students than LGB White Students (M=4.6 084). Involvement Table 4 18 and Table 4 19 show the means, F value, df value, and significance between groups for several race/ethnicity groups based on the combined items and
57 A one way between subjects AN OVA was conducted to compare the effect of race/ethnicity (LGB students of color and LGB White students) on (consisting of 5 items measuring the involvement ). There was not a significant effect of race/ethnicity on the invo lvement at the p<.05 level for Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement [F (4, 102) = 1.161, p =.333], Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement [F (4, 105) = 1.464, p =.219], Academic Organization Involvement [F (4, 107) = .576, p =.6 81], Religious and Other Campus Involvement [F (4, 102) = 1.401, p =.239], and Sports and Recreational Involvement [F (4, 104) = .940, p =.444]. Focus Groups This section will discuss the results of the qualitative data analysis with three focus groups con sisting of a total of 15 LGB University of Florida students. The focus groups consisted of 11 men and 4 women; 11 students identified as gay, 3 students identified as lesbian, and one student identified as bisexual. The focus group included 13 students who identified as White, 1 as African American, and 1 as Asian. The procedures used were described in detail in the Methods section. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the combined data from the three groups. The answers to the five focus group interview questions provided the overarching themes pertaining to the LGB student experience: The Coming Out Experience of LGB students and the College Experience of the LGB students. Line by line open coding resulted in 31 concept codes, based on the overarching th meanings, and theoretical concepts relevant to this research. These were then grouped
58 into two categories, LGB Student Coming Out Experience Before College and LGB Student Coming Out Experience During College. The theme, Comin g out Experience, within the overarching theme of the LGB and Impactful Person. The concepts include: Negative Reaction, Negative Environment at Home, Positive Family Reac tion, Shocked Family Reaction, Found Support on the Internet, Eating Disorder, Lack of S el f Esteem, Nervous, Closeted, Self Acceptance/Self Awareness, Relief, Positive Academic Experience, Negative Academic Experience, Accepting Environment, Non Accepting Environment, Comfortable Environment, Uncomfortable Environment, Neutral Environment, Non Accepting Environment at home, Not Involved, Accepting Environment in Involvement, Comfortable in Involvement, Non Accepting Environment in Involvement, Uncomfortable in Involvement, Accepting Family, Accepting/Supportive or Tolerant Friend, Accepting/Supp ortive LGB Family member, Non Accepting Person due to Religion, Non Accepting Family and Non Accepting Friend. Table 4 20 organizes the themes, categories, and concepts. Each overall theme, category, and concepts serves a significant part in explaining the development of the LGB student, which serves as the overall theme of these focus groups. Provided below are examples of each theme emerging from the focus group sessions.
59 LGB Student Positive Coming Out Experience The results showed that 10 students had a positive coming out experience, including 5 who came out before college and 5 who came out during college. The researcher examined possible linkages between the factors that may have accounted for the positiv e nature of their experiences. A positive Comi ng Out Experience seemed to be strongly influenced by the Family Reaction and the Student Reaction. Positive Family Reaction Overall the results indicated that family members reacted positively to the came out before college, explained the Family Reaction and the connection with his mother that has become stronger in the following way, Yeah well my mom actually came into my room and asked me, right before coming to college, and said so there is somethi ng to ask you before you go even m ove. So I said yeah. Then she said ok that is fine. Then that was that. Then 10 minutes later I called my boyfriend to come over for dinner. Then she almost had a heart attack. So then it was fine and now we are like best friends. We go shopping and like g et our nails done together. I mean my family knows and everyone is completely fine with it. My sister is gay and came out before me. Participant I, who came out before college, also explained their Family Reaction as positive and has remained so over time heard a Lady Gaga
60 Similarly, Participant O, who came out during college, described her coming out experie nce as positive based on her accepting family reaction and enduring positive family relationship I actually came out to [my mom] [at the art school] since she is a teacher ther course I cried and everything. dadadada. Participant H, who came out during college, followed up with a similar story on a positive Family Reaction and how the family relationship stayed the same. feelings for her. Um, after that I realized that I her and she said she kind of knew. Like my sister is a lesbian before that ster coming out Thanksgiving and my dad just got a girlfriend so he was talking about bring girlfriend to dinner what if I brought a girlfriend to dinner? And he was like what and I was like or a boyfriend or a girlfriend like anything. He was like then we started talking about it and I was lik The results also indicated that at times the Family Reaction included a Shocked Family Reaction but a positive coming out experience. Participant M came out during college and explain s the Shocked Family Reaction as, been in our family forever and they both have really long term partners. So I not them of accept you.
61 Student Reacti on The range of Student Reactions encompasses feelings of nervousness, self acceptance and awareness of their sexual orientation, and a sense of relief. The predominant experience was nervousness, with 10 of the 15 students indicating that they felt nervou s when coming out as LGB. For example, Participant F, who came out before college, indicated how and why he felt nervous coming out to his mother: I came out to my mom and that was really nice. Actually like I was really nervous for some reason which was goes wrong blah blah blah. I started crying and then she started crying because I was crying. And then we just hugged it out and it was all good. Similarly, Participant G indicated that she wanted to come out to her mother in a certain way but became nervous in the process: building up to it I it was kind of like, I knew that my mo m knew and I knew next year I had a girlfriend so I made a big production out of it. And you know how people like send Christmas cards of their kids [with a] picture photo and they w holiday is as ha it. Eventually the participant disclosed her sexual orientation and had a positive family reaction and coming out experience as noted below. But when I came home, uh, my dad gets up so early for work, so I was just talking to my mom and was like, hold on, let me get something for you (referring to the picture photo that she created indicating that she was n the board of Equality Florida doing a bunch of stuff. Five students indicated Self Acceptance and Self Awareness in their statements in the focus groups. The students who reported that they were self accepting and aware of their sexual orientation meant that these students did not show any hesitation or doubt
62 in their sexual orientation as they disclosed their LGB status to a family member or friend. For example, Participant K came out before college and described how he showed self awareness of his sexua l orientation by being open to others about it; and self acceptance by not allowing his friends or family to change him: When I came out I kind of had already established with everyone before fine with it. I mean my mom wanted me, like, to see a counselor when initially she confronted me about i t, but I thought that was her trying to, like, know that they love me unconditionally and [I] just don Participant M, who came out during college, indicated that he was questioned by his parents about his sexual orientation, his reaction when disclosing his sexual orientation was self aware and accepting. Participant M indicated that his parents as ked with self awareness and acceptance of his sexual orientation in the following w ay: I was Lastly, four students who came out during college had a sense of Relief when coming out as LGB. Participant O felt a sense of relief when coming out to her family. She described her experience as one t LGB Student College Experience A positive coming out experience served to influence the overall college ce was explained based on
63 experience as a whole. LGB Student Academic Experience In Colleg e Ten students who indicated a positive coming out experience reported that they overall college experience. For example, Participant L, who came out before college, talked about feeling disconnected from the faculty at the University of Florida. usually for things pertaining to the class. And um, some of the professors are not even open anyway to be conversation with them. Participant J, similar to Participant L in coming out before college, added to the concept of a loss in connection to faculty in the following comment, I never had an experience with professors, mainly because I find the classes in school are too big in general for me to even have a one on one Adding to the concept of LGB students feeling disconnected from faculty, Participant N came out during college and indicated that, I talk to professors, not very personally, yet this has only been my first year. 200 kids in the group, when do you get a chance? Participant H, who also came out during college, confirmed this thought by that there is a feeling among LGB students of being disconnected from and unable to talk to faculty.
64 Particip ant G, who came out during college, also expressed caution around faculty regarding his sexual orientation, fearing that the faculty or classmates would sabotage nservative. I felt outsider ideologically in the field in my department and like having different ideas. just getting along or to have people listen to my ideas. LGB Student Community Connectedness in college c omfort and feelings of acceptance on campus and the Gainesville community (part of positive coming out experience, seven reported that there was an Accepting Environment in College, and three students reported that there was a Non Accepting Environment in College. For example, Participant L, who came out before college, indicated that the college environment is accepting. In fact, he speculated that his experience is no diff erent than his heterosexual peers: the same people i f I were straight. But all my friends are very open umm I attitude towards me. Similar to Participants L and M, Participant O, who came out during college, also perceives the col lege environm ent as accepting, College is the happiest that I have ever been my whole life and I uh just feel semester h
65 that there are more important things than academics, there are more The results also showed that eight students felt that there was a Comfortable Environment at Colle ge. In some cases, they tied their comfort to their own self acceptance of being gay. For example, Participant J, who came out before college, stated that campus is comfortable everywhere because he is comfortable being gay, I do not think that there is a specific place on campus but in general I would say this entire campus. No place on campus makes me feel uncomfortable, like I will walk around saying what I want relating to being gay or wearing what I want making me look completely gay. And people will completely assume that I am gay and I am fine with that. Participant M, who came out during college, expressed that there is not a specific place on campus that makes him feel uncomfortable, but instead indicates that all of campus is comfortable to him: Yeah I agree there is not one specific place that I feel the most comfortable be with my friends whether we are on the bus or in class or eating or whatever, if we are talkin feel comfortable talking about it in my room alone, to my best friends or walking down the street, on a bus or over the phone. There is no t a place Participant H provided a summary of what these eight students were saying about the college community, Most people are pretty accepting. So I think coming out just made me realize that generally like the norm is f or people, at least in Gainesville, to be accepting of it, you know. We of course sometimes come across a can talk about anything you want and be yourself and its fine. In contrast, o ne participant indicated that there were some places on campus that made him feel uncomfortable, even though in general he believed that campus is a
66 Comfortable Environment. Participant I, who came out before college, indicated the following uncomfortable places: Two students who came out during college reported that they view college as a Non Accepting Environment and an Uncomfortable Environment. For ex ample, t LGB Student Club/Organization Involvement in college The last concept that explained the Colle Involvement. The students reported comfort and acceptance from their Involvement in a club/organization, job, or extracurricular activities. There were seven students that reported being involved and also had a positive comin g out experience. Out of these seven students, six reported that they experienced an Accepting Environment in their Involvement and felt Comfortable to express their sexual orientation in their Involvement. Participant K came out before college and discuss ed the positive experience he has had with a campus organization accepting of his sexual orientation: One of the directors of the program came out, I mean he had been out but he just told his story behind it. And then myself and another student also told our stories about it, so that was an easy way to move into letting everyone accept you. It was a really emotional time with a lot of sad stories
67 but that was a good way for everyone to connect. That was a really accepting and open organization. Participant M came out during college and stated that his club/organization is described their st udent organizations similarly as accepting and comfortable. The participants also indicated a level of comfort in expressing their sexual orientation; Participant K connected how accepting his student organization was to the level of comfort in that organi zation in the statement below, about the students and what we can do for the student body. And we just all a really open and diverse organization. Whereas, one participant who came out before college reported that they have experienced a Non Accepting Environment in their Involvement and feel Uncomfortable in their Involvement. Participant L described their neg ative experience in a sports organization: heard of people who have come out to the kids on the swim team and they d of Results showed that two participants who came out during college reported either no data or to not be involved. Two students reported a negative environment in their Involvement and feelin g uncomfortable with the club/organization being religiously affiliated or an organized sport. Participant H reported that she had a negative experience in a religious affiliated organization because When we would have our weekly Bible study meetings we w ould meet up and talk about how you are and like try to be vulnerable with each other,
68 how I feel about certain things without feeling judged. Impactful Person In coming out, the students encountered people that served as a positive or coming out experience and positive college experience reported mainly Impactful Persons who were helpful in th eir influence. Three participants identified their families came out before college, was asked who was an impactful person on their college experience in regards to their sexual orientation, he indicated his mother and sister: One is definitely my mom just because she is the one who asked me [if I she has apparently always known from when I use to wea r her heels. And ever since then, since I came out to her in high school, it made our friends and that obviously made it much easier because I always knew that if everyone else d was always there to fall back on that made [being gay] so much easier. Participant J followed up with a statement indicating the characteristics that one of his impactful people possessed that helped hi m as a gay man in college: grossed out, n Participant M came out during college and described how his family relationship stayed the same once out as gay. He spoke of the close relationship he has with his uncle and how the acceptance of this family member influenced his college experience: I have always been close to my gay uncle and his partner ever since I was the one that I would talk too often. I [would] get dinner with him, things like
69 kind of kind of just made me feel like it was ok. And like driving back to school it t making me feel good about myself. Participant M also came out during college and shared how an impactful person positively influenced his college experience. His comment explains similar experiences described by other participants: When I came out to my checking out guys with my girlfriends and making comments and laughing, I just felt so much more comfortable. I felt like this is who I am, I know now. Three participants that came out during college an d had a positive coming out experience reported having an Accepting and Supportive/Tolerant friend as an Impactful Person on their college experience. Participant N described friends who contributed to his college experience in the following way: What the y did for me really was made me realize that, before I met them I to them and talking with them really was helpful, especially [friend in residence hall] because he is a very [they] really helped me with that aspect. In summary, four participants i ndicated that people other than family members, such as supportive friends impacted their college experience in a positive way, i.e., who were out before or during college with a positive family reaction maintained a reaction to their coming out experience was positive as well. These students reported that their family had a positive i mpact on their college experience, while several other
70 students reported that for them, a friend or friend Whether their support was from family or friends, these students reported having an overall positive college experience through their Involvement and Connectedness to the Community, although they also reported having an average Academic Experience. There were a few exceptions to this general pattern. One student who came out before college reported a neutral environment i n college as it pertained to their Connection to the College Community; and one student who came out before college reported not being involved in the college community. Two students did not report any Impactful Person in response to queries in the focus g roup. LGB Student Negative Coming Out Experience This section will discuss the students who reported having a negative coming out experience before or during college. The researcher then examines the factors that may have accounted for the negative natur e of their experiences, including how these level of involvement as an LGB person, and h aving an the Impactful Person that who Negative Family Reaction Five students who came out before college had a negative coming out experience that seemed to be determined by both the Family Reaction and th e Student Reaction. Overall, the Family Reaction for these students were negative. For example, Participant A explained the Family Reaction and the Negative Environment at home with his family in the following way: in Christian counseling. My
71 Similarly, Participant D reported that her relationship with her mother changed s sexual orientation, Partic ipant D came out to her again. She discussed how the relationship has changed in the statement below, ys talk person that I go to for relationship advice and stuff. And, uh, she just did not hung up. Student Reaction The students whose coming out experience and family reaction were negative showed a spectrum of reactions to their coming out experience, including finding support on the Internet, developing an eating disorder, and feeling a sense of relief. Two out of the nine focus group students that came out during college indicated that they Found Support on The Internet when coming out as LGB. For example, Participant A, who came out during high school indicated that he used the Internet to find out more about his sexual orientation and found a connection to a person that subsequently resulted in a negative coming out experience, A lot I was able to talk to about it inappropriate relationship with him because I needed support and that was the only person that I could find [support from].
72 Two out of the nine students who came out before college reported having an eating disor der as a reaction to their coming out experience. Participant B talked about his awareness of his sexual orientation when he had his first same sex crush. However, the other person did not have the same feelings for him, resulting in a negative coming out experience for Participant B and an eating disorder described below: I do to change about myself so people l that I had of what gay men were supposed to look like were in the probably starving myself and like bringing my activity level up way beyond what it 60 pounds that s ummer. Another Student Reaction that the participants faced was a sense of relief once out as LGB. Four students that had a negative coming out experience during college reported a sense of relief once out as LGB. Participant C reported a sense of relief a bout her sexual orientation during the coming out process, en I found an outlet [It] with one of those huge weights on my legs. LGB Student College Experience college experience was explained based on the results of the
73 LGB Student Academic Experience in college Three students reported a Negative Acade mic Experience. Participant C talked about his disconnection from the faculty and from academics at the University of Florida, much like two other students, of the nine who came out before college. When the participant was asked about his connection to the faculty, he responded that he was not connected to teachers Participant A reported that he is Cautious Around Faculty to not disclose his sexual orientation out of fear of discrimination from f aculty and that the faculty would ed to avoid telling him o an interesting thing because my professional affect my performance in anyway if he would, God forbid, use it against me while grading me. LGB Student Community Connectedness in college and feelings of acceptance on campus and in the Gainesville community. The results showed that two students with negative coming out experiences reported an Accepting Environment in College. For example, Participant A indicated that the college environment is accepting and he is able to feel comfortable because he had a stronger connection at UF then a t home,
74 experience so far. Participa nt D reported that the campus community had an Accepting Environment where she felt comfortable to be out as an LGB student, I felt very accepted. Um, this is my first year here and I went to um, preview and I met a lot of people and made a lot of friends and I thoroughly enjoyed In contrast, two participants indicated that there were some places on campus that were Uncomfortable and viewed the campus as a Non Accepting Environment. Participant B Non Accepting and Uncomfortable: I sometimes get a little bit of a backlash from people outside of my peer I have had some incidents of people saying very hurtful or condescending things to me personally. And part of that has to do with my very loud outness I guess sometimes, and ability to call out homophobia when I see it. So I get some backlash from that. Pa rticipant B also reported that this Non Accepting Environment reflects a heteronormative campus climate, i.e., an atmosphere that is dominated by heterosexual views or culture. Illustrating her point with an example from University of Florida policies she noted, But I also sometimes sense a hint of the South and the hint of conservatism things that get br ought up in policy change organizations. LGB Student Club/Organization Involvement in College Involvement. The results indicated that LGB students who had a negative coming out experi ence reported positive experiences in their club/organization involvement. Three
75 students reported levels of comfort and acceptance from their Involvement, if the student reported to be involved in a club/organization, a job or extracurricular activities. The participants reporting a negative coming out experience were involved in organizations that are accepting and have comfortable environments. Participant B described these organizations as Probably overly po level of comfort in the organization. Participant A confirmed that the accepting on e of the most open minded in terms of sexual orientation and In contrast, one student who had a negative coming out experience also had a negative experience in their Involvement. This participant reported that they experienced a Non A ccepting Environment in their Involvement and felt Uncomfortable in their Involvement. Participant D described a negative experience in a University affiliated organization: The only time I ever felt like I needed to hide who I was, I work at this place [ yantly gay heard people like talk about them and like say bad with that. She further explained why she felt uncomfortable:
76 Impactful Person In coming out, the students encountered people that served as a positive and coming out experience reported mainly negative Impactful Pe rsons that influenced their college experience. Four participants reported their non accepting family as a negatively Impactful Person. For instance, when Participant A was asked who was an Impactful Person on their college experience in regards to their s exual orientation, he indicated his parents influenced his college experience in a negative way: pare confid ence. This negative Impactful person had some of the same characteristics of the negative Impactful Persons that other participants reported. These characteristics include being non accepting and emotionally or physically abusive. While the participants r eported similar Impactful Persons that served as a negative influence on their college experience, there were Impactful Persons that served as a positive influence for the students who had a negative coming out experience. Participant A indicated a positiv e Impactful Person as, know and that umm more just accepted in my family, which is something that I really honestly them a lot and they are my support.
77 Participant C, who also had a negative coming out experience, reported that his sibling was an Impactful Person who served as a positive influence on his college experience, he then states that the support of his sibling allowed him to become more self that I have some sense of self confidence I can do it myself but [my sister] helped me do that so that was definit Contrasting Experience LGB Student Coming Out Experience Family Reaction The study showed one individual who indicated having a negative coming out experience and who also came out during college, whereas the other participants that came out during college experienced a positive coming out experience. This student, Accepting Family background in the following way, I grew up in a very, very religious household my mother always told me when I was g rowing up that she would always love and suppor t me as long Um, we went to a church regularly throughout high school that would invite Exodus International to come and speak to us, that if we had any sinful thoughts then we should feel com fortable telling our pastor and they would help us out with those. his sexual orientation, Um I told [my mom] that like, you know that I have been having a lot of issues the and more conscious of the fact that I was gay. And she cried and then she
78 Student Reaction This student had a negative coming out experience and family reaction, and showed various reactions t o their coming out experience, such as denial, feeling nervous, and trapped. Participant E explained his reaction to coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his reaction to coming out as LGB to a friend, end at the time I was like like I understood that I had these feelings but then what I was going to do was just marry a girl and then we were going to have kids and then everythin g would be ok. So that is going to stop with whoever I marry, so I the word gay I had to say that I am not attracted to women. LGB Student College Experience LGB Student Academic Experience in College This student reported that they were having a Negative Academic Experience. Participant E reported that he is Cautious around Faculty to not disclose his sexual orientation in fear of faculty discrimination or sabotage of the student My thesis adviser last year, I was very, very careful because she was my thesis adviser and she got to decide whether or not I passed with honors, high honors, or highest honors. She was the one reading my thesis, she was the one giving me grades for research and like I wanted to make sure could have been the mo st permeate person ever but I j because there was always that well what if and then I screw something up and then I fail. LGB Student Community Connectedness in college comfort and acceptance level on campus and the Gainesville community. The results showed th at this student reported experiencing a Non Accepting Environme nt in College once out as LGB,
79 I started coming out. There were places where I definitely felt more or less safe in coming out but the residence halls were definitely places where I felt like I The student reported that he eventually found a safe and Accepting Environment in College at LGB friendly spaces, such as Ustler Hall where the PRIDE Student Union meetings were held. LGB Student C lub/Organization Involvement In College The last concept that explained the College Experience in this contrasting example from their Involvement. The student reported bei ng involved in LGB friendly organizations that allowed for an Accepting and Comfortable Environment in his Involvement. Participant E described his involvement as negative if the environment in the organization was Non Accepting as indicated below, Most re at a place where I am very, very much at a place where I am like I am queer like in cleats and everything, I w as like wow I feel way dysphoric, I feel like I myself. The student reported feeling comfortable in an Accepting Environment such as LGBT Affairs and Pride Student Union. In com ing out, this student encountered people that served as a positive and negative influence on his college experience. This student reported having their family pastor as an Impactful Person due to the family and pastor not being accepting. When Participant E was asked who was an Impactful Person on their college experience in regards to their sexual orientation, the respondent indicated his friend who helped him come out, and his family pastor, who influenced his college experience in regards to his Connecte dness to the Community, in a negative way,
80 Um, the biggest negative impact has got to be [my family] Pastor um from high school, the person that kept inviting Exodus International [and] the one that was like, if you have any sinful thoughts come and talk t o me. Um up until, I am going to say my sophomore year of college, I was really religious because there was this person who seems to care so much for me and my wellbeing, just opposed with I knew that if he knew that I were gay he would supposed to be loved and supported by this person who was supposed to be looking out for my spiritual and mental wellbeing, who for it. And so for a long time I thought that GOD was hating me and that I being put through a test that I needed to overcome and being able to finally le t go of all of that I feel like is what really helped me be ok with being queer. In summary, there were five students who had a negative coming out experience, negative re actions from these students, with repercussions thro ughout their college experience. Those who had a negative coming out experience reported an average academic experience; however, the students reported feeling connected to the college community and mainl y reported being involved in organizations that were accepting of their sexual orientation. In comparison to the students that had a positive coming out experience, the students who had a negative coming out experience also were involved on campus. The dif ferences include that more students who had a negative coming out experience feel more connected to the college community. The next chapter will discuss how these concepts, the LGB students coming out experience and college experience, relate to one anothe
81 Table 4 1. SERU Survey Factor Analysis College Experience Component New Variables Principal Component Analysis # of Combined items Initial Set of items Academic Experience Academic Class Involvement .6 to .8 There were 7 items combined to create this variable 7 Connectedness to Faculty .5 to .8 There were 5 items combined to create this variable 5 Overachieving in Class .6 to .7 There were 4 items combined to create this variable 9 Underachieving in Class .6 to .8 There were 5 items combined to create this variable 9 Student Development on Diversity and Self Awareness .7 to .8 There were 5 items combined to create this variable 5 Satisfaction with UF Education .6 to .8 There were 4 items combined to create this variable 4 Recognizing and Coping with Different Views .7 to .9 There were 10 items combined to create this variable 10 Community Connectedness Respect of Others Beliefs .7 to .8 There were 7 items combined to create this variable 9 Expre ssion of Beliefs .8 to .9 There were 2 items combined to create this variable 9 Connection to Campus .937 There were 2 items combined to create this variable 2 Supportive Faculty .5 to .7 There were 4 items combined to create this variable 4 Interact ion with a Diverse Group of People .7 to .8 There were 10 items combined to create this variable 10 Social Campus Climate .5 to .8 There were 6 items combined to create this variable 7 Academic Campus Climate .871 There was one 1 item used to create th is variable 7
82 Table 4 1. Continued College Experience Component New Variables Principal Component Analysis # of Combined items Initial Set of items Club/Organization Involvement Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement .5 to .6 There were 6 it ems combined to create this variable 15 Religious and Off Campus Organization Involvement .4 to .6 There were 2 items combined to create this variable 15 Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement .7 to .8 There were 3 items combined to cre ate this variable 15 Academic Organization Involvement .7 There were 2 items combined to create this variable 15 Sports and Recreational Involvement .6 to .7 There were 2 items combined to create this variable 15
83 Table 4 2 Sexual Orientation and Ac ademic Experience Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Academic Class Involvement Connectedness to Faculty Overachieving In Class Underachieving In Class Student Development on Diversity and Self Awareness Satisfaction with UF Education Recognizing and Coping with Different Views Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Mean 3.7896 3.1502 3.6195 2.6943 4.5941 4.3198 3.8098 N 539 546 533 552 545 555 102 Std. Deviation 1.09914 1.12572 1.06266 .94396 .96937 1.05156 1.23075 Kurtosis .603 .148 .288 .959 .957 .395 .123 Heterosexual Mean 3.5637 3.0019 3.7381 2.4513 4.5217 4.5454 3.6701 N 17354 17510 17407 17652 17522 17708 3218 Std. Deviation 1.02205 1.05050 .98706 .84403 .87167 .87825 1.15737 Kurtosis .431 .129 .382 1.265 .176 .816 .455 Total Mean 3.570 5 3.0063 3.7346 2.4587 4.5239 4.5385 3.6744 N 17893 18056 17940 18204 18067 18263 3320 Std. Deviation 1.02516 1.05312 .98956 .84822 .87484 .88483 1.15975 Kurtosis .439 .126 .375 1.263 .128 .831 .442 Table 4 3. ANOVA Table Sexual Orientation a nd Academic Experience Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Academic Class Involvement Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 26.673 1 26.673 25.415 .000 Within Groups 18776.841 17891 1.050 Total 18803.514 17892 Connectedness to Faculty Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 11.648 1 11.648 10.508 .001 Within Groups 20012.624 18054 1.108 Total 20024.273 18055 Overachieving In Class Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 7.278 1 7.278 7.435 .006 Within Groups 17559.106 17938 .979 Total 17566.384 17939 Underachieving In Class Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 31.595 1 31.595 44.018 .000 W ithin Groups 13065.173 18202 .718 Total 13096.768 18203 Student Development on Diversity and Self Awareness Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 2.772 1 2.772 3.622 .057 Within Groups 13823.823 18065 .765 T otal 13826.595 18066 Satisfaction with UF Education Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 27.381 1 27.381 35.038 .000 Within Groups 14270.438 18261 .781 Total 14297.819 18262 Recognizing and Coping with Diff erent Views Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 1.930 1 1.930 1.435 .231 Within Groups 4462.178 3318 1.345 Total 4464.109 3319
84 Table 4 4. Sexual Orientation and Community Connectedness Sexual Orientation Recod ed (B/G/L v. Hetero) Respect of Others Beliefs Expression of Beliefs Connection to Campus Supportive Faculty Interaction with a Diverse Group of People Social Campus Climate Academic Campus Climate Gay/Lesbi an/Bisexu al Mean 4.5262 4.8761 4.6733 1.1476 4.5 252 2.4025 3.0656 N 547 553 554 547 107 118 122 Std. Deviation 1.03981 1.08953 1.30472 .24215 1.09114 .91685 1.09648 Kurtosis .683 1.329 .327 2.484 1.320 2.958 .751 Heterosex ual Mean 4.7225 4.7457 5.0397 1.1176 4.0441 2.3702 2.9646 N 17576 17817 1 7774 17670 3210 3542 3616 Std. Deviation .86166 1.01143 1.03096 .21641 1.05839 .76644 .92386 Kurtosis 1.002 1.356 2.016 3.737 .213 1.213 .378 Total Mean 4.7166 4.7496 5.0286 1.1185 4.0597 2.3712 2.9679 N 18123 18370 18328 18217 3317 3660 3738 Std Deviation .86819 1.01409 1.04214 .21728 1.06270 .77162 .93000 Kurtosis 1.024 1.350 1.966 3.693 .189 1.342 .422 Table 4 5 ANOVA Table Sexual Orientation and Community Connectedness Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Respect of Others Beliefs Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 20.431 1 20.431 27.145 .000 Within Groups 13638.944 18121 .753 Total 13659.375 18122 Expression of Beliefs Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combi ned) 9.122 1 9.122 8.874 .003 Within Groups 18881.001 18368 1.028 Total 18890.123 18369 Connection to Campus Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 72.140 1 72.140 66.662 .000 Within Groups 19831.822 18326 1.08 2 Total 19903.962 18327 Supportive Faculty Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) .479 1 .479 10.154 .001 Within Groups 859.511 18215 .047 Total 859.990 18216 Interaction with a Diverse Group of People Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 23.966 1 23.966 21.352 .000 Within Groups 3720.877 3315 1.122 Total 3744.843 3316 Social Campus Climate Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined ) .120 1 .120 .201 .654 Within Groups 2178.460 3658 .596 Total 2178.580 3659 Academic Campus Climate Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 1.203 1 1.203 1.391 .238 Within Groups 3230.944 3736 .865 Total 32 32.148 3737
85 Table 4 6 Sexual Orientation and Involvement Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement Religious and Off Campus Organization Involvement Student Government and Greek Organization Invol vement Academic Organization Involvement Sports and Recreational Involvement Gay/Lesbian/ Bisexual Mean 2.8426 2.6322 2.8288 2.4643 2.7431 N 108 104 111 112 109 Std. Deviation .33383 .43783 .42903 .71570 .52093 Kurtosis 16.004 3.040 7.805 .296 3.117 Heterosexual Mean 2.8998 2.6254 2.6970 2.4452 2.7318 N 3323 3181 3375 3387 3361 Std. Deviation .24178 .44393 .52274 .69032 .52425 Kurtosis 20.567 1.123 1.663 .489 2.652 Total Mean 2.8980 2.6256 2.7012 2.4458 2.7321 N 3431 3285 3486 3499 3470 St d. Deviation .24534 .44368 .52048 .69105 .52407 Kurtosis 20.621 1.173 1.756 .484 2.660 Table 4 7 ANOVA Table Sexual Orientation and Involvement Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement Sexual Orientat ion Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) .343 1 .343 5.705 .017 Within Groups 206.114 3429 .060 Total 206.457 3430 Religious and Off Campus Organization Involvement Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Com bined) .005 1 .005 .024 .877 Within Groups 646.447 3283 .197 Total 646.452 3284 Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) 1.867 1 1.867 6.902 .009 Within Group s 942.218 3484 .270 Total 944.085 3485 Academic Organization Involvement Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) .039 1 .039 .082 .774 Within Groups 1670.448 3497 .478 Total 1670.487 3498 Sports and Recrea tional Involvement Sexual Orientation Recoded (B/G/L v. Hetero) Between Groups (Combined) .014 1 .014 .049 .824 Within Groups 952.754 3468 .275 Total 952.767 3469
86 T able 4 8 Gender and Academic Experience Gender Academic Class Involvement Conn ectedness To Faculty Overachieving In Class Underachieving In Class Student Development In Diversity and Self Awareness Satisfaction with UF Education Recognizing and Coping with Different Views Male Mean 3.8013 3.1942 2.7240 3.6436 4.5419 4.3011 3.7683 N 312 312 317 307 313 318 63 Std. Deviation 1.15843 1.20656 .99778 1.11005 .99218 1.08034 1.23207 Female Mean 3.7734 3.0915 2.6543 3.5867 4.6647 4.3449 3.8769 N 227 234 235 226 232 237 39 Std. Deviation 1.01430 1.00745 .86657 .99617 .93519 1.01339 1.24170 Total Mean 3.7896 3.1502 2.6943 3.6195 4.5941 4.3198 3.8098 N 539 546 552 533 545 555 102 Std. Deviation 1.09914 1.12572 .94396 1.06266 .96937 1.05156 1.23075 Table 4 9 ANOVA Table Gender and Academic Experience Sum of Squares df Mean Squ are F Sig. Academic Class Involvement Gender Between Groups (Combined) .102 1 .102 .084 .772 Within Groups 649.865 537 1.210 Total 649.967 538 Connectedness To Faculty Gender Between Groups (Combined) 1.412 1 1.412 1.115 .292 Within Groups 689.233 544 1.267 Total 690.645 545 Overachieving In Class Gender Between Groups (Combined) .656 1 .656 .736 .391 Within Groups 490.319 550 .891 Total 490.975 551 Underachieving In Class Gender Between Groups (Combined) .422 1 .422 373 .542 Within Groups 600.335 531 1.131 Total 600.757 532 Student Development In Diversity and Self Awareness Gender Between Groups (Combined) 2.009 1 2.009 2.143 .144 Within Groups 509.172 543 .938 Total 511.181 544 Satisfaction wit h UF Education Gender Between Groups (Combined) .261 1 .261 .236 .628 Within Groups 612.346 553 1.107 Total 612.607 554 Recognizing and Coping with Different Views Gender Between Groups (Combined) .284 1 .284 .186 .667 Within Groups 152.706 100 1.527 Total 152.990 101
87 Table 4 10 Gender and Community Connectedness Gender Respect of Others Beliefs Expression of Beliefs Connection to Campus Supportive Faculty Interaction WIth A Diverse Group of People Social Campus Climate Academic Cam pus Climate Male Mean 4.4963 4.8639 4.6965 1.1664 4.4833 2.4974 3.1385 N 312 316 318 311 66 63 65 Std. Deviation 1.06947 1.12143 1.31056 .25606 1.10795 1.04276 1.22317 Female Mean 4.5660 4.8924 4.6419 1.1229 4.5927 2.2939 2.9825 N 235 237 236 236 4 1 55 57 Std. Deviation .99994 1.04761 1.29893 .22060 1.07364 .74187 .93525 Total Mean 4.5262 4.8761 4.6733 1.1476 4.5252 2.4025 3.0656 N 547 553 554 547 107 118 122 Std. Deviation 1.03981 1.08953 1.30472 .24215 1.09114 .91685 1.09648 Table 4 11 A NOVA Table Gender and Community Connectedness Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Respect of Others Beliefs Gender Between Groups (Combined) .650 1 .650 .600 .439 Within Groups 589.683 545 1.082 Total 590.332 546 Expression of Beliefs Gen der Between Groups (Combined) .110 1 .110 .092 .761 Within Groups 655.155 551 1.189 Total 655.265 552 Connection to Campus Gender Between Groups Combined) .404 1 .404 .237 .627 Within Groups 940.961 552 1.705 Total 941.365 553 Support ive Faculty Gender Between Groups (Combined) .254 1 .254 4.360 .037 Within Groups 31.763 545 .058 Total 32.017 546 Interaction WIth A Diverse Group of People Gender Between Groups (Combined) .302 1 .302 .252 .617 Within Groups 125.899 105 1 .199 Total 126.202 106 Social Campus Climate Gender Between Groups (Combined) 1.215 1 1.215 1.451 .231 Within Groups 97.136 116 .837 Total 98.351 117 Academic Campus Climate Gender Between Groups (Combined) .739 1 .739 .613 .435 Wit hin Groups 144.736 120 1.206 Total 145.475 121
88 Table 4 12 Gender and Involvement Gender Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement Academic Organization Involvement Religious and Other C ampus Involvement Sports and Recreational Involvement Male Mean 2.7955 2.6995 2.4085 2.5217 2.7721 N 66 71 71 69 68 Std. Deviation .31864 .42596 .72855 .60290 .50692 Female Mean 2.8374 2.8376 2.5610 2.6974 2.6951 N 41 39 41 38 41 Std. Deviation 36607 .38138 .69097 .56400 .54633 Total Mean 2.8115 2.7485 2.4643 2.5841 2.7431 N 107 110 112 107 109 Std. Deviation .33653 .41429 .71570 .59275 .52093 Table 4 13 ANOVA Table Gender and Involvement Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Advocacy a nd Performance Organization Involvement Gender Between Groups (Combined) .044 1 .044 .391 .533 Within Groups 11.960 105 .114 Total 12.005 106 Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement Gender Between Groups (Combined) .480 1 .480 2 .843 .095 Within Groups 18.228 108 .169 Total 18.708 109 Academic Organization Involvement Gender Between Groups (Combined) .605 1 .605 1.182 .279 Within Groups 56.252 110 .511 Total 56.857 111 Religious and Other Campus Involvement Gender Between Groups (Combined) .756 1 .756 2.175 .143 Within Groups 36.487 105 .347 Total 37.243 106 Sports and Recreational Involvement Gender Between Groups (Combined) .151 1 .151 .556 .458 Within Groups 29.156 107 .272 Total 29.307 108
89 Table 4 14 Race/Ethnicity and Academic Experience Race/Ethnicity Academic Class Involvement Connectedness To Faculty Overachieving In Class Underachieving In Class Student Development In Diversity and Self Awareness Satisfaction with UF Educatio n Recognizing and Coping with Different Views American Indian Alaskan Native Mean 4.9643 3.8800 2.2500 4.7600 5.5200 4.7500 N 4 5 5 5 5 5 Std. Deviation .73193 1.10995 .55902 1.10815 .30332 1.35785 African American Mean 3.6039 3.0261 2.7340 3.4681 4.5261 3.9202 3.6000 N 44 46 47 47 46 47 7 Std. Deviation 1.11292 1.19897 .91248 1.01919 1.11024 1.10349 1.39642 Chicano Latino Mean 3.8377 3.1717 2.7091 3.7829 4.5495 4.3624 3.5895 N 110 106 110 105 107 109 19 Std. Deviation 1.16307 1.16044 .981 79 1.13447 1.03708 1.07717 1.28966 Asian Filipino Pacific Islander Mean 3.5754 2.9632 2.6750 3.7158 4.5526 3.9063 3.3500 N 36 38 40 38 38 40 6 Std. Deviation 1.23198 1.34354 .95776 1.20147 1.26955 1.11759 2.02559 White Mean 3.8110 3.1519 2.7000 3.562 8 4.5994 4.4189 3.9290 N 331 337 335 323 335 339 69 Std. Deviation 1.06314 1.06344 .94255 1.01839 .89997 .99391 1.13320 Unknown Mean 3.6044 3.4923 2.5000 3.5143 4.7231 4.0357 4.0000 N 13 13 14 14 13 14 1 Std. Deviation .93706 1.38952 .96576 1.0661 6 .59182 1.24753 Internationa l Foreign Visa Mean 5.0000 5.0000 3.0000 4.0000 6.0000 3.2500 N 1 1 1 1 1 1 Std. Deviation . . . Total Mean 3.7896 3.1502 2.6943 3.6195 4.5941 4.3198 3.8098 N 539 546 552 533 545 555 102 Std. Deviation 1.09 914 1.12572 .94396 1.06266 .96937 1.05156 1.23075
90 Table 4 15 ANOVA Table Race/Ethnicity and Academic Experience Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Academic Class Involvement Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 11.005 6 1.834 1.527 .167 Wit hin Groups 638.962 532 1.201 Total 649.967 538 Connectedness To Faculty Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 9.694 6 1.616 1.279 .265 Within Groups 680.951 539 1.263 Total 690.645 545 Overachieving In Class Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 1.733 6 .289 .322 .926 Within Groups 489.241 545 .898 Total 490.975 551 Underachieving In Class Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 12.072 6 2.012 1.798 .097 Within Groups 588.685 526 1.119 Total 600.757 532 Stu dent Development In Diversity and Self Awareness Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 6.979 6 1.163 1.241 .283 Within Groups 504.202 538 .937 Total 511.181 544 Satisfaction with UF Education Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 21.071 6 3.512 3.253 .004 Within Groups 591.536 548 1.079 Total 612.607 554 Recognizing and Coping with Different Views Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 3.515 4 .879 .570 .685 Within Groups 149.475 97 1.541 Total 152.990 101
91 Table 4 16 Race/Ethnicity and Community Connectedness Race/Ethnicity Respect of Others Beliefs Expression of Beliefs Connection to Campus Supportive Faculty Interaction WIth A Diverse Group of People Social Campus Climate Academic Campus Climate American Indi an Alaskan Native Mean 4.9143 5.5000 5.3000 1.0500 2.5833 1.5000 N 5 5 5 5 2 2 Std. Deviation .98250 .86603 1.09545 .11180 1.06066 .70711 African American Mean 4.0095 4.8191 4.4362 1.1467 4.6375 2.4615 3.1538 N 45 47 47 46 8 13 13 Std. Deviatio n 1.19305 1.27444 1.24506 .25591 1.04052 1.29485 1.21423 Chicano Latino Mean 4.6595 4.9541 4.6852 1.1597 4.6632 2.2083 2.8750 N 107 109 108 108 19 24 24 Std. Deviation 1.01370 1.12945 1.40025 .24990 1.29281 .69722 .74089 Asian Filipino Pacific Island er Mean 4.1429 4.5625 4.3125 1.1795 4.1125 2.5000 3.1667 N 40 40 40 39 8 6 6 Std. Deviation 1.24119 1.26687 1.48793 .28648 1.57338 1.00554 .75277 White Mean 4.6084 4.8872 4.7404 1.1418 4.5155 2.4437 3.1757 N 336 337 339 335 71 71 74 Std. Deviation .96033 1.03541 1.25004 .23624 .99393 .91023 1.17460 Unknown Mean 4.2857 5.0000 4.6786 1.1346 5.0000 2.4167 2.3333 N 13 14 14 13 1 2 3 Std. Deviation 1.22196 .70711 1.43590 .19406 1.29636 1.15470 Internationa l Foreign Visa Mean 2.4286 3.0000 3.0000 1.2500 N 1 1 1 1 Std. Deviation . . Total Mean 4.5262 4.8761 4.6733 1.1476 4.5252 2.4025 3.0656 N 547 553 554 547 107 118 122 Std. Deviation 1.03981 1.08953 1.30472 .24215 1.09114 .91685 1.09648
92 Table 4 17 ANOVA Table Race/Ethni city and Community Connectedness Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Respect of Others Beliefs Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 27.970 6 4.662 4.476 .000 Within Groups 562.363 540 1.041 Total 590.332 546 Expression of Beliefs Race/ Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 10.473 6 1.745 1.478 .183 Within Groups 644.792 546 1.181 Total 655.265 552 Connection to Campus Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 14.156 6 2.359 1.392 .216 Within Groups 927.208 547 1.695 Total 941.365 553 Supportive Faculty Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) .127 6 .021 .359 .905 Within Groups 31.890 540 .059 Total 32.017 546 Interaction WIth A Diverse Group of People Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 2.057 4 .514 .423 .792 Within Groups 124.145 102 1.217 Total 126.202 106 Social Campus Climate Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 1.193 5 .239 .275 .926 Within Groups 97.158 112 .867 Total 98.351 117 Academic Campus Climate Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 8.442 5 1.688 1.429 .219 Within Groups 137.034 116 1.181 Total 145.475 121
93 Table 4 18 Race/Ethnicity and Involvement Race/Ethnicity Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement Student Government and Greek Organi zation Involvement Academic Organization Involvement Religious and Other Campus Involvement Sports and Recreational Involvement African American Mean 2.8542 2.5556 2.5000 2.2222 3.0000 N 8 9 9 9 8 Std. Deviation .18767 .64550 .70711 .61802 .00000 Chi cano Latino Mean 2.7105 2.6140 2.2895 2.4706 2.6176 N 19 19 19 17 17 Std. Deviation .48382 .50016 .78733 .79982 .69663 Asian Filipino Pacific Islander Mean 2.6667 2.8148 2.7222 2.5000 2.8333 N 9 9 9 8 9 Std. Deviation .33333 .29397 .56519 .70711 50000 White Mean 2.8502 2.7934 2.4726 2.6620 2.7260 N 69 71 73 71 73 Std. Deviation .29998 .36238 .72116 .51252 .50718 Unknown Mean 2.9167 3.0000 2.5000 2.7500 3.0000 N 2 2 2 2 2 Std. Deviation .11785 .00000 .70711 .35355 .00000 Total Mean 2.811 5 2.7485 2.4643 2.5841 2.7431 N 107 110 112 107 109 Std. Deviation .33653 .41429 .71570 .59275 .52093
94 Table 4 19 ANOVA Table Race/Ethnicity and Involvement Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Advocacy and Performance Organization Involvement R ace/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) .523 4 .131 1.161 .333 Within Groups 11.482 102 .113 Total 12.005 106 Student Government and Greek Organization Involvement Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) .988 4 .247 1.464 .219 Within Groups 17.720 105 .169 Total 18.708 109 Academic Organization Involvement Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 1.198 4 .300 .576 .681 Within Groups 55.659 107 .520 Total 56.857 111 Religious and Other Campus Involvement Race/Ethnicity Be tween Groups (Combined) 1.940 4 .485 1.401 .239 Within Groups 35.303 102 .346 Total 37.243 106 Sports and Recreational Involvement Race/Ethnicity Between Groups (Combined) 1.022 4 .256 .940 .444 Within Groups 28.285 104 .272 Total 29.307 108
95 Table 4 20 LGB Student Coming Out Experience Before College VS LGB Student Coming Out Experience During College Categories Concepts Family Reaction Negative Reaction Negative Environment at home Positive Reaction Shocked Reaction Student Reaction Found Support on the Internet Eating Disorder Lack of Self Esteem Nervous Denial Closeted Self Acceptance/Self Awareness Relief Academic Experience Positive Experience Negative Experience Community Connectedness Accepting Enviro nment Non Accepting Environment Comfortable Environment Uncomfortable Environment Neutral Environment Non Accepting Environment at home Involvement Not Involved Accepting Environment in Involvement Comfortable in Involvement Non Accepting Environment in Involvement Uncomfortable in Involvement Impactful Person Accepting Family Accepting/Supportive or Tolerant Friend Non Accepting Person due to Religion Accepting/Supportive LGB Family member Non Accepting Family Non Accepting F riend
96 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to explore how lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) on their college experience. The college experience was con ceptualized as consisting level of Involvement of the student in clubs or organizations. The new information provided in this study, focusing on the connection between famil y and the LGB individual's college experience, begins to fill a gap in knowledge about LGB student adjustment to the college experience. This chapter will discuss how the research results of both the SERU survey and focus group interviews answered the rese arch questions by examining whether the research hypotheses were supported. Both the SERU and focus group sections also discuss how the results relate to the theories guiding the research. The second part of this chapter focuses on the theoretical framewor ks, with an analysis of how the main research findings connected to the theories. The section on theory also includes a proposed theoretical framework based on the results. SERU Survey o all LGB college students, LGB college students of color, and LGB men and women evaluate ose of There were three hypotheses developed to answer the quest ions: H1: LGB students will be less satisfied with their college experience than heterosexual students.
97 H2: LGB Students of color will report lower levels of satisfaction with the college experience than LGB white students. H3: Gay and bisexual men will be less satisfied with the college experience than lesbian and bisexual women. Addressing Hypotheses 1 H1: LGB students will be less satisfied with their college experience than heterosexual students. Previous research indicated that LGB students reported l ower levels of satisfaction with their college experience compared to heterosexual students ( Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008). The SERU survey results demonstrated that, when college experience was defined as including Academic Experience, Communi ty Connectedness, and Involvement, LGB students reported significantly lower levels of satisfaction than heterosexual students in some areas of these three factors (see Table 4 1 for the complete list of variables composing the three factors of College Exp erience). These areas included: Overachieving in Class, which was one of the variables explaining student Academic Experience; Satisfaction with UF Education, which is another variable explaining student Academic Experience; and Advocacy and Performance Or level of Involvement. However, compared to heterosexual students LGB students reported higher levels of satisfaction with their overall college experience, including Academic Experienc e, Connection to the Community, and level of Involvement. Particularly important to LGB students compared to heterosexual students was their evaluation of their Connection to the College Community, with 5 of 7 variables in the factor reaching significance However, LGB students of color differ somewhat from heterosexual students, feeling not connected to the overall environment on campus and
98 feeling less satisfied in college. Meaning that LGB students feel they can express their beliefs in the college comm unity but do not feel respected when expressing their beliefs, making their college experience less satisfying due to the disconnect and lack of support in the college environment. The two groups (LGB students and heterosexual students) indicated that they were involved in college, but LGB students feel more satisfied in their college experience when they are involved with student government affiliated organizations and Greek organizations. Addressing Hypothesis 2 H2: LGB Students of color will report lowe r levels of satisfaction with the college experience than LGB white students. Previous research has found that LGB people of color feel a sense of disconnect from the LGB community and their racial or ethnic community (Harper et al 2004 ), although the r esearch has not previously examined this question in a university setting. However, the results indicated no significant differences between LGB students of color and LGB white students in their overall evaluation of their college experience, based on the analysis of selected variables (Academic Experience, Connection to the College Community, and club or organization Involvement). However, there were significant differences between LGB students of color (grouped) and LGB white students on the variables, Sa tisfaction with their UF Education, which is one of the variables that which is one of the variables that measures the LGB students Connection to the College Community (Ta ble 4 17). Looking more closely at racial and ethnic groups, the analyses showed that LGB white students had a more satisfying college experience than LGB African American,
99 LGB Chicano Latino, LGB Asian Filipino Pacific, and LGB International Foreign Visa students. However, the LGB students of color that identify as American Indian Alaskan had greater Satisfaction with their UF Education when c ompared to LGB white students. Furthermore, there were significant differences among LGB students of color (groupe d) 16). The LGB students of color that reported that they believed other students were respected on campus were: LGB American Indian Alaskan and LGB Chicano Latino students. The LG B students of color that reported that they did not believe other students were respected on campus, therefore feeling less connected to the college community, were: LGB African American, LGB Asian Filipino Pacific and LGB International Foreign Visa studen ts. Overall it can be inferred that LGB students of color have a similar college experience as LGB white students, with the exception of the areas of Satisfaction with their UF Education (Academic Experience) and their beliefs that others are respected on campus (Community Connectedness) among certain LGB students of color. Possibly LGB students of color are less satisfied than LGB white students in these areas because the pressure to satisfy both the LGB and racial/ethnic communities as an LGB person of co lor allows for a greater disconnect from each community. Consequently, the connection that the LGB student feels towards the college community, which is one component that measures the overall college experience, may be less satisfying for certain LGB stud ents of color. It cannot be inferred that that overall LGB students are less or more satisfied with their college experience than LGB white students.
100 Addressing Hypothesis 3 H3: Gay and bisexual men will be less satisfied with the college experience than l esbian and bisexual women. According to the SERU survey results, there were no significant differences between gay men and lesbian women in their overall college experience when evaluating the components of Academic Experience, Community Connectedness, and Involvement in organizations, sports, and other outlets. The only area that showed a significant difference between gay men and lesbian women was their views on show that gay men felt significantly more supported by faculty than lesbian women. In short, these research results showed that, in almost all areas of Academic Experience and Community Connection gay men and lesbian women were similarly satisfied (Tables 4 8 to 4 13). These findings contradic t recent PEW Research (2011) findings that women have a more satisfying college experience than men. Answering the Research Questions LGB college st udents of color, and LGB men and women evaluate their college evaluation of their college experience on the University of Florida campus. The best response to the research qu college experience than heterosexual students for the selected SERU survey questions used in the study but it is import
101 Academic Experience and level of Involvement that are less satisfying than heterosexual students. Comparisons of LGB racial and ethnic differences showed no significant differences among LGB students o f color and LGB white students in their overall college experience. However, in specific areas LGB students were less satisfied with their college experience than LGB white students, i.e., Satisfaction with their UF Education, and their Beliefs that others Academic Experience and Connection to the Community, respectively). Comparisons of LGB gender differences in overall college experience revealed no significant differences betw een lesbian women and gay me n. However, gay men were more satisfied with the support they received by faculty than lesbian women (variable of Academic Experience). However, questions the relations between sexual preference, race/ethnicity, gender, and college experience remain for fu ture research. Focus Groups While the SERU data provided a snapshot of LGB student satisfaction with various aspects of college life, the focus group interviews were designed to provide more in depth information about various influences on the college expe rience. Reasoning that family tensions over developing sexual preference may impact family relationships, the researcher posed questions to groups of voluntary stud ent participants about the impact reaction to coming out on their college experience? And, how do LGB students perceive
102 the relative impact of other influences on their college experiences? The hypotheses that were used to predict the answer to these questions include: H4: LGB students who perceive their family as accepting during the coming ou t process will have a more positive college experience than LGB students whose parents are non accepting. H5: LGB Students of color will report lower levels of perceived family acceptance than LGB white students. Addressing Hypothesis 4 H4: LGB students w ho perceive their family as accepting during the coming out process will have a more positive college experience than LGB students whose parents are non accepting. The focus groups results indicated that the LGB students who were out before or during colle ge and perceived their family as more accepting during the coming out process had a more positive college experience. These students were heavily involved with campus activities and positively evaluated their connection to the University campus. In compari son, the students who were out before or during college and perceived their family as non accepting or simply tolerant but not fully accepting during described being less sati sfied with their Connection to the UF Community and in their Academic Experience, which are two of the three components that measure the affirmatively to this hypothesi s: LGB students who perceived their family as more accepting had a more positive college experience than students who perceived their family as less accepting.
103 Possibly, students who do not feel accepted by their families have a less satisfying college exp erience because they do not have a supportive community at home or a supportive or connectin g community at the university. This disconnect is especially relevant during the transition to adulthood when a student enters the university. Furthermore, disconne cted students may be vulnerable to loneliness, isolation, and depression (Detrie & Lease, 2007), and the university campus may be the only safe place for these students. Addressing Hypothesis 5 H5: LGB Students of color will report lower levels of perceiv ed family acceptance than LGB white students. The researcher made many efforts to diversify each session based on race and sexual orientation; however, only 2 of the total of 15 participants were students of color. One student of color reported having a n egative coming out experience with his family but had an impactful person, in his case, a sibling, who helped him through the process. Although his family experience was negative, he described a positive experience getting involved on campus, possibly than ks to the supportive sibling. Although previous were supportive even when the color in the focus groups perceived the coming out experience as positive; however, the student was not involved on campus and lacked a sense of connection to the campus community. This lack of connectio n could be due to the added barrier of race, but this was not clear from the data collected. Further research is needed to test the relations between race, family reaction, and college experience.
104 Answering the Research Question Returning to the research question as to how family reactions influence satisfaction with the college experience, it appeared that students with an accepting family were more satisfied with their college experience. Here the researcher suggests that this is because they have at lea st one supportive person to embrace and encourage the student to be proud to be out as LGB. The results also indicated that having an impactful person in their lives was a contributing factor to the LGB Whether a parent, famil y member, or friend, this was someone the student could talk to easily, who helped their self esteem, and who supported the student in coming out and being proud of their sexual orientation. In contrast, students who came from a less accepting family were influenced by a negative impactful person, someone perceived as non accepting or judgmental. Theoretical Connections the indirect connection with from the SERU phase of the study showed that LGB students had a more positive outcome, college experience, than heterosexual students. Asti n (1984) proposes that the more a student is physically (Involvement) and psychologically (Academic Experience and Community Connectedness) involved, the more likely it is that a student will have a positive college experience. Overall, the LGB students in the SERU sample showed higher levels of Involvement than heterosexual students in the areas of Academic Experience and Involvement in clubs/organizations, which may account for a
105 better overall positive college experience when compared to heterosexual stu dents. The coming out carried significant meaning for the student and appeared to have an impact perspective of the other theory used in this rese arch, symbolic interactionism. Particularly important is to the understanding of the development of LGB students. Me is the self that is created through role taking and analysis Since the Me concept is created through interactions with signific ant others, the LGB student could be expected to begin to reaction or the imp actful person influenced I t appears that this sense of self is a major influence on how students perceived and received their college experience. Integrating the focus group themes and ideas from the theoretical frameworks, th is researcher developed a model that may better explain the process that the students endure within their LGB experience (Figure 5 1). In the focus groups students described their coming out experience, occurring before or during college. The results were the Impactful Person also responded to the coming out in a positive or negative way. All l also
106 colle ge experience by offering support and encouragement. The interaction that occurs between the students and their families will depend on the evaluation of the importance that through interaction with the family or in institutions like schools, the student will go through the role taking process. The role taking process involves creating meaning of the world or community based on how the other person wants one to view the world or community. The question is which concept is more salient to the student? A factor in determining this seems to be whether the student came out before or during college. Another factor is that if the student has an accepting community at home and/or at college. Depending on which community provides a supportive and accepting community, there is a possibility that the student will assign more meaning to the experience at home (if the family reactio n or relationship is positive compared to a negative or neutral experience at college). Thinking in the manner of an equation, the experience ( Family reaction + Involvement = College Experience). For example, if the involvement at college ( 80% + 20%) this will result in a negative college experience ( reaction means less to the student than their positive college involvement ( 20% + 80%) this will result in a possible positive
107 involvement has a direct effect on the stud possible that a student assigns more meaning to their involvement and has a positive family reaction and a possible positive college experience. This concept is stating that the family reaction or an impactful person involvement can effect on the college experience of an LGB person. Consequently, involvement could influence the development of LGB students as each person provides different interpretations of the meaning of coming out and its impact on the college experience. Further exploration of these ideas and testing of resulting models is needed to better understand the process by which transi tioning students are affected by their families and others and the college community, depending on the timing of the coming out experience.
108 Figure 5 1. LGB Student Experience Model
109 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION S The purpose of this study was to explore how lesb ian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) on their college experience. The college experience was defined as consisting of the ege Community, and the level of Involvement of the student in clubs or organizations. This study focused on the a gap in knowledge about adjustment to the college expe rience among LGB students. While the researcher cannot say that the family reaction is a direct cause of a negative or positive college experience, this research provides evidence suggesting that the family reaction has at least an indirect effect on an LG of their sexual orientation appeared to be linked to a better college experience, perhaps because students view themselves more positivel y when they have the support of a even rejection of something so basic to their identity can be destructive in multiple ways, including to their college experience. In light of other research, the results showing that LGB students at the University of Florida are generally having a positive college experience came as something of a surprise. The SERU survey results indicated that LGB students are generally more satisf ied in their Connection to the College Community and their level of Involvement when compared to heterosexual students. This could possibly be due to the lack of connection that LGB students may have to their family, making the student feel more
110 connected to the UF college environment. These results also could be due to the connection that LGB students may have with organizations such as PRIDE and LGBT Affairs, which is a resource and safe place for LGB students. The focus group results also underscored the mostly positive college experiences of those students who participated in these discussions, and tied in an intervening factor unaddressed in previous research: the coming out experience. In short, it appears that the college experience may be positive if the student had a positive coming out experience or negative if the student experienced a negative coming out experience. significant meaning students attached to family responses. Rather than coming out occurring at one point in time only, it usually extended over a period of time in an interaction of revelation, reaction, negotiation, and acceptance. The responses described by participants were strong, often visceral in cluding anger and tears, and tears of closeness, a feeling of being accepted. Regardless of whether they came out perception and self acceptance as they came to terms with their identity during this life course transition. When parents who at first were less than accepting eventually the family could resolve or come to peace with previous disagreements. One of the most important findings of this research is the importance of an indicating that such a n individual influenced their college experience in some way. The
111 characteristics of this person were supportive, accepting, someone the student could esteem/confidence. These impactf ul people influenced the LGB students to feel more connected to the college community, to become more involved, or to feel safe to express their sexual orientation in an academic setting. Although most often this was an immediate family member, such as a s ibling impactful persons also included extended family such as aunts and uncles, who often had personal experience with coming out and offered first hand advice and, most important, encouragement, Limitations There are limitations to this study that may in fluence results. First, the SERU data included students who were interested in buying football tickets. Because being able to purchase tickets requires SERU survey participation, the data could come from a select group of students with similar interests an d may omit students not interested in football tickets and not having another opportunity to complete the survey. If this research were to be completed again, it would be improved by having a more general way of collecting data from a more general sample o f UF students. Also, the focus group membership was smaller than would be ideal in order to receive more accurate data. Therefore, if this research were to be completed again, it would behoove the researcher to expand the number of participants in the focu s groups. Implications for University Student Affairs Practice and Research While many major universities strive to create open and affirming environments for LGBT students, this research suggests that those efforts could be adapted and strengthened to be tter reach gay and lesbian students. The researcher believes that the results of this research underscore the importance of creating an academic environment
112 where LGBT students feel supported and encouraged to accept and express their sexual orientation. T his will create the climate for a more positive college experience, particularly for students who have an unsupportive family. The focus group results indicated that many of the LGB students did not feel connected to faculty members, in some cases because of large class sizes and in others because of feared repercussions of revealing sexual orientation. Faculty member training on supporting LGBT students would develop awareness and help faculty to build accepting communities in their classrooms and advising For example, faculty members could adopt language that is welcoming to all sexual orientations, such as using the term partner instead of boyfriend or girlfriend to refer to an intimate relationship. Another suggestion would be for faculty members to be aware of the materials and objects that are presented in their office for students to see. These objects give the students an impression of the faculty member which could possibly create a disconnection between them. For example, a religious object such as a cross with faculty, despite the desire and opportunities to develop a relationship that would earch could explore the ways faculty members present themselves in an academic setting, in particular identifying the characteristics of those whom LGB students find welcoming. The researcher also believes that it is important for future research to explor e the generational differences between LGB college students and faculty members. Older faculty members undoubtedly experienced much different views of gay issues, depending on the developments occurring during certain eras. For example, during the
113 1980s, t he HIV/AIDS epidemic was the major issue confronting the LGBT community, whereas bullying and hate crimes, the legalization of gay marriage, domestic partnerships, and adoption, and many other issues are in the forefront today. The LGBT social movement res earch discussed in the literature review reflected the different issues faced through the decades that could influence the way that faculty members view the gay community. Again, training and other educational efforts could be used to update faculty on the changes within the LGBT movement, to develop awareness of the progression of the gay community, and to help address the issues that their LGBT students currently face. Another theme that emerged from the focus group sessions was religion, which played a k ey -mostly negative -participants mentioned that religion served as a deterrent to their growth as an LGB person and stood in the way of family acceptance and/or a positive college experience. In the case of the individual discussed in the results section who had a particularly negative coming out experience, there were several indications that this was due to their religious background. Other participants mentioned that their family relationship changed afte other participants stated that they feel uncomfortable in the college community around religious groups due to their experience at home or their negative view of religious organizatio ns displaying discriminatory behavior. The researcher believes that this topic experience or makes the student feel less connected to their family or community.
114 While the focus group and SERU results suggested that race may create a double burden for LGBT students, limitations in the data prevent in depth exploration of this important topic, and this area demands further research. Future research would measure satisfaction with the college experience among LGB students of color and factors that influence this experience. Furthermore, this is an area where Student Affairs, including the PRIDE Center and the Multicultural Affairs office, could play a leadership role by creatin g an academic environment where students of color, like other LGBT students, feel supported in their sexual orientation and their racial and ethnic background. The majority of the participants indicated that an Impactful person influenced their college exp erience in some way. The researcher would suggest that student affairs professionals review the characteristics of these impactful persons. By examining the characteristics of these impactful persons, these professionals will be able to create an open envi ronment for LGB students to feel connected to their community. Whether the LGB student is at the beginning stages of coming out or at a point where they are not feeling accepted by anyone, knowing the type of qualities that a student needs to feel connecte d will be helpful to the success of the LGB student. The exploration of these issues will allow for student affairs professionals to create an atmosphere on campus for LGB students to feel connected to campus, become more involved, and have the support the y need to excel academically. This atmosphere would include programs, presentations, and workshops on the following topics: Coming Addressing the family relationship changes; and How to be a supportive/accepting
115 faculty member/staff for LGB students. In closing, the researcher believes that exploring these topics and the topic of the pivotal role that the family plays in the process of the development of an LGB student is a step closer to helping the LGB student find their way toward being their true authentic self.
116 APPENDIX A SELECTED SERU SURVEY QUESTIONS Background Information 1. What is your sexual orientation? Bisexual Gay/Lesbian Heterosexual 2. With which gender do you identify? Woman (Female) Man (Male) Academics 1. During this academic year, how often have you done each of the following? Contributed to a class discussion Brought up ideas or concepts from different courses during class discussions Asked an insightful question in class Found a course so interesting that you did more work than was required Chosen challenging courses, when possible, even though you might lower your GPA by doing so Made a class presentation Had a class in which the profe ssor knew or learned your name 2. How frequently have you engaged in these activities so far this academic year? Taken a small research oriented seminar with faculty Communicated with a faculty member by e mail or in person Talked with the instructor outside of class about issues and concepts derived from a course Interacted with faculty during lecture class sessions Worked with a faculty member on an activity other than coursework (e.g., student organization, campus committee, cultural activity) 3. How frequently during this academic year have you done each of the following ? Turned in a course assignment late Gone to class without completing assigned reading Gone to class unprepared Skipped class Raised your standard for accep table effort due to the high standards of a faculty member Extensively revised a paper at least once before submitting it to be graded Sought academic help from instructor or tutor when needed Worked on class projects or studied as a group with other classmates outside of class Helped a classmate better understand the course material when studying together 4. Similarly, please rate your abilities now and when you first began at this university on the following di mensions. When you started here or Current ability level Ability to appreciate, tolerate and understand racial and ethnic diversity Ability to appreciate the fine arts (e.g., painting, music, drama, dance) Ability to appreciate cultural and global diversity Understanding the importa nce of personal social responsibility
117 Self awareness and understanding 5. Please rate your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of your universit y education UF grade point average Overall social experience Overall academic experience Value of your education for the price you're paying 6. In the classroom, h ow often have you been asked to? Acknowledge personal differences Appreciate the world from someone else's perspective Interact with someone with views that are different fr om your own Discuss and navigate controversial issues Define an issue or challenge and identify possible solutions Implement a solution to an issue or challenge Reflect upon the solution of an issue or challenge Reflect on community or social iss ues as a shared responsibility Reflect on your individual responsibility for community or social issues Act on community or social issues Community Connectedness 1. Indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. I feel free to express my political beliefs on campus I feel free to express my religious beliefs on campus Students are respected here regardless of their economic or social class Students are respected here regardless of their gender Students are respected here regardless of their race or ethnicity Students are respected here regardless of their religious beliefs Students are respected here regardless of their political beliefs Students are respected here regardless of their sexual orientati on Students are respected here regardless of their disabilities 2. Please rate your level of agreement with the following statements. I feel that I belong at this campus Knowing what I know now, I would still choose to enroll at this campus 3. Pl ease answer the following questions about your educational experience overall. Are there open channels of communication between faculty and students regarding student needs, concerns, and suggestions? Are students treated equitably and fairly by the fac ulty? Do faculty clearly explain what constitutes plagiarism and its consequences? Do faculty provide prompt and useful feedback on student work? 4. Outside the classroom, how often do you Acknowledge personal differences Appreciate the world from someone else's perspective Interact with someone with views that are different from your own
118 Discuss and navigate controversial issues Define an issue or challenge and identify possible solutions Implement a solution to an issue or challenge Ref lect upon the solution of an issue or challenge Reflect on community or social issues as a shared responsibility Reflect on your individual responsibility for community or social issues Act on community or social issues 5. Based on your experience and observation, rate the general climate for students at UF along the following dimensions: Friendly to Hostile Caring to Impersonal Intellectual to Not Intellectual Tolerant of diversity to Intolerant of diversity Safe to Dangerous Too hard acade mically to Too easy academically Affordable to Not affordable 6. Previously in this survey, you were asked about how students are respected on this campus. Please rate your level of agreement on the following questions that ask you about YOUR specific experience. As a person with my racial/ethnic background I feel respected on this campus As a person with my socio economic status I feel respected on this campus As a person with my sexual orientation I feel respected on this campus Club/Organizati on Involvement 1. Indicate the way in which you have been involved in the following activities or organizations this academic year. Academic (e.g., math club, philosophy club) Advocacy (e.g., Amnesty International, Living Wage Advocacy, Sierra Club) C ampus sports club (e.g., rugby club, Kendo club) Campus varsity team (e.g., basketball, softball, soccer) Governing bodies (e.g., student government, IFC, PanHellenic, residence hall association) Greek fraternity or sorority Honor society Media ( e.g., campus newspaper, radio station) Performing group (e.g., school band, dance team) Political (e.g., Young Republicans, College Democrats) Recreational (e.g., chess club, bike club, rock climbing club) Religious (e.g., Baptist Collegiate Ministr ies, Catholic Student Fellowship, Islam on Campus, Jewish Student Union) Service (e.g., Special Olympics Volunteers Club, Jewish Social Action Committee) Other campus based club or organization Off campus club or organization
119 APPENDIX B IRB APPROVA L LETTER
120 APPENDIX C EMAIL REQUEST TO PAR TICIPATE Hello, My name is Patricia Jordan and I am a Masters student with the department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. I am writing this email to request that you forward this email to your members for participation. I am conducting 3 focus groups to understand if the family's reaction to the coming out of a lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) student has an impact on the student's college experience The focus groups will occur between April 20 29, 2012. An y involvement would contribute to the advocacy of LGB rights. Please find an attached flier to sign up and the link is below as well. http://freeonlinesurveys.com/rend ersurvey.asp?sid=loyjm9j3aky4p461030691
121 APPENDIX D PARTICIPANT SIGN UP Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to understand if a family's reaction to the coming out of a lesbian, gay or bisexual student has an impact the student's col lege experience. There will be a five minute ice breaker, where you will be asked to introduce your name and sexual orientation. Then you will be asked to participate in a 30 45 minute series of discussion questions to determine the reasons behind the coll ege experience you have had thus far at the University of Florida due to your sexual orientation. Within the 30 45 minute discussion there will be a 5 minute break. At the end of the focus group discussion, the participants will be free to add anything tha t would benefit the study. Time required: 1 hour Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Patricia Jordan, Graduate Student, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, 14 Broward Hall, Gainesville, FL 32612, phone 305 431 0366. Suz anna Smith, PhD, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, 3041 McCarty Hall D, 352 273 3537. IRB Approved (U 348 2012) Page 1 1) Please indicate your name (please note that this information will remain anonymous throughout the thesis) 2) Please provide your email address (this is for the researcher to send a confirmation email with location and time to attend the focus group)
122 3) Please indicate the sexual orientation that be describes you. Lesbian A woman who has an emotional or sexual attraction to another woman. Gay A man who h as an emotional or se xual attraction to another man. Bisexual A man or woman who is emotionally or sexually attracted to both sexe s. 4) Please indicate the race/ethnicity that best describes y ou. African American American Indian or other Native American Asian or Pacific Islander C aucasian (o ther than Hispanic) Mexican American Puerto Rican Hispanic Other (Please Specify): 5) Are you out as LGB to your family, friends or community? (In order to participate the researcher is looking for the participants to be out to either their family, friends or community) Yes No
123 6) There is a limit of 10 people per session, so please choose all possible days that you will be available to participate. The researcher will send a confirmation page of the date, time and location to you. Friday April 27, 2012 at 12pm 1:30 pm Friday, April 27, 2012 at 5pm 6:30pm Saturday, Apri l 28, 2012 at 12pm 1:30pm Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 5pm 6:30pm Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 12pm 1:30pm Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm 4pm Monday, April 30, 2012 at 11am 12:30pm Monday, April 30, 2012 at 12:30pm 2pm
124 APPENDIX E COGNITIVE TESTING OF FOCUS GROUP QUESTION S The Influe nce of Family Acceptance on LGB Students College Experience 1. I have read the procedure described above for the Assessment Assignment. I voluntarily agree to participate in the survey. 2. Age o 19 or younger o 20 23 o 24 29 3. Sex o Male o Female o Other ______ 4. How do you id entify o Gay o Lesbian o Bisexual o Other 5. What is your racial background? o American Indian or other Native American o Asian or Pacific Islander o Caucasian (other than Hispanic) o Mexican American o Puerto Rican o Other Hispanic o Other 6. What is your classification in college? o Freshman/First Year o Sophomore o Junior o Senior 7. Where do you live during the school year? o Dormitory/Residence Hall or other campus housing o Residence within walking distance of UF o Residence within driving distance of UF o Fraternity or Sorority house o Other 8. What h ave most of your grades been up to now at this institution? o A o A B+ o B o B C+ o C, C or lower 9. What is your major? 10. How do you define your family?
125 o Family of origin born into your family o Family of choice persons or a group of people who are significant in y our life that you consider a family o Other 11. What is your family status of knowledge of your sexuality? o My family does not know that I am gay, lesbian or bisexual o My family does not know but suspects that I am gay, lesbian or bisexual o My family does know that I am gay, lesbian or bisexual o Other 12. If your family know that you are gay, lesbian or bisexual; how would you define their level of acceptance? o Accepting of your sexuality and tolerant o Accepting of your sexuality and supportive o Not accepting 13. Did either of your parents or guardian graduate from college? 14. Do you have a job, outside of your academic commitments? 15. If you answered yes to the question 14, does it intervene with your school work? 16. How often have you done the following? o Attended a meeting that of a ca mpus club, organization, or student government group. o Worked on a campus committee, student organization, or project (publications, student government, special event, etc.). o Managed or provided leadership for a club or organization, on or off the campus. o Told a friend or family member why you reacted to another person the way you did. o Discussed with another student, friend or family member why some people get along smoothly, and other do not. o Asked a friend for help with a personal problem. o Talked with a faculty member, counselor or other staff member about personal concerns. o Became acquainted with students whose interests were different from yours. o Became acquainted with students whose family background (economic, social) was difference from yours. o Had serious discussions with students whose philosophy of life or personal values were different from yours. o Had serious discussions with students whose political opinions were very different from yours. o Had serious discussions with students whose religi ous beliefs were very different from yours. 17. 18.
126 APPENDIX F CHANGES TO COGNITIVE TEST Original Question: What have most of your grades been up to now at this institution? Changed Question to: Have you been satisfied with the grades that you have received so far while at the University of Florida? Original Questi on: What is your family status of knowledge of your sexuality? Changed Question to: Are you out as LGB to your family or community? Original Question: If your family knows that you are gay, lesbian or bisexual; how would you define their level of acceptan ce? Changed Question to: What is your family's reaction of your sexual orientation? (accepting, non accepting, tolerant, ambivalent) Original Question: My disclosure of my sexuality to my friends or family has had an affect (Positive or Negative) on my co llege experience? Changed Question to: Are you involved in clubs/organizations at the University of Florida? Is so, are you able to be open about your sexual orientation in the clubs/organizations that you are involved in? If not, is this due to your comfo rt level of disclosing your sexual orientation? Also Changed to: Did the reaction or will the reaction of your family based on your sexual orientation have an effect on your academics? If so, how has or will it? If not, why? Also changed to: Were the suici dal thoughts due to being harassed or bullied because of your/their sexual orientation? If so, did you or your friend use the resources available on campus to help through this process?
127 APPENDIX G Facilitator Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. I. 1. 2. 3. 1. 2.
128 3. 4. 5. 6. -4. 1. 2. 3. II. III. 1. 2. 3.
129 4. What was it like to come out to your family, friends or community? Probe: How did you feel when you told them? 5. IV. 1. 2. 3. 4. Thank you for participating in this focus group today.
130 APPENDIX H RESOURCES FOR FOCUS GROUPS Resour ces Counseling Services Counseling and Wellness Center Phone Number: 352 392 1575 Website: http://www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/ Hours: Monday Friday (8am 5pm) Alachua County Crisis Center Phone Number: 352 264 6789 Website: http://www.alachuacounty.us/DEPTS /CSS/CRISISCENTER/Pages/CrisisCenter.aspx Hours: 24/7 Involvement Opportunities Pride Student Union Website: http://ufpride.org/ Multicultural and Diversity Affairs LGBT Affairs Website: http://www.multicultural.ufl.edu/ LGBT Affairs Hours: Monday Frida y (am 5pm) Pride Community Center of North Central Florida Phone Number: 352 377 8915 Website: http://gainesvillepride.org/index.php Hours: Monday Friday (3pm 7pm) and Saturday (12pm 4pm) Researchers Contact Information Patricia Jordan Phone: 305 431 0366 Email: email@example.com
131 LIST OF REFERENCES Allan, K. (2007). The social lens: An invitation to social and sociological theory. Thousa nd Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Antonio, A. (2004). The Influence of friendship groups on intellectual self confidence and educational aspirations in college. The Journal of Higher Education, 75 (4) 446 471. Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Deve lopment 25 297 308 Berg, B.L. (2004). Qualitative Research Methods (5 th ed.) Bo ston: Pearson. Bernard, R.H. (2000). Social research methods Thousa nd Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Bernstein, M. (1997). Celebration and suppression: The strategic uses of identity by the lesbian and gay movement American Journal of Sociology, 103 (3), 531 561. Breen, R. L. (2006). A practical guide to focus group research. Journal o f Geography In Higher Education 30 (3), 463 475. Bresciani, M. J., Zelna, A. L. & Anderson, J A. (2004). Assessing student learning and development: A handbook for practitioners. Washington, DC: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Brodzinsky, D. (2011). Expanding resources for children iii: Research based practices in adopti on by gays and lesbians. Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Retrieved from http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/2011_10_Expanding_Resourc es_Bes tPractices.pdf Chatman, S. (2011). Factor structure and reliability of the 2011 seru/ucues q ue stionnaire core. Retrieved from http://cs he.berkeley.edu/research/seru/papers/Chatman.SERUTechReport.Factor Strucure.11.29.2011.pdf Collins, D. (2003). Pretesting survey instruments: an overview of cognitive methods. Quality of Life Research 12 (3) 229 238. Darby Mullins, P., & Murdock, T. B. (20 07).The influence of family environment factors on self acceptance and emotional adjustment am ong gay, lesbian, and bisexual a dolescents. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 3 (1), 75 91. D'Augelli, A. R., Grossman, A. H., & Starks, M. T. (2008). Families of g ay lesbian, and bisexual youth: W hat do parents an d siblings know and how do they react? Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 4 (1), 95 115.
132 Detrie, P. M., & Lease, S. H. (2007).The relation of social support, connectedness, and collective self esteem to the p sychological well being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. Journal of Homosexuality 53 (4), 173 199. Fisher, R. J. (1993). Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning. Journal of Consumer Research 20 (2), 303 315 Flowers, L. A. (2 004). Examining the effects of student involvement on African American college development. Journal of College Student Development 45 (6), 633 654. Gardner, J. N., Jewler, A. J., & Barefoot, B. O. (2008) Your college experience: Strategies for success (8th ed.) Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Gender Equity Resource Center (2011). Retrieved from http://geneq.berkeley.edu/lgbt_resources_definiton_of_terms Ghaziani, A. (2008 ). The dividends of dissent: How conflict and culture work in lesbian and gay marches on washington Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. The Glaring Facts. (2011, November 9). Social self and socialization. Retrieved from http://www.theglaringfacts.com/staff essays/social self and socialization/ Harper, G., Jernewell, N. & Zea, M.C. (2004). Giving voice to emerging science and theory for lesbian, gay and bisexua l people of color. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 10(3), 187 199. Hartwell, E., Serovich, J. M., Grafsky, E. L., & Kerr, Z. (2012). Coming out of the dark: Content analysis of articles pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues in couple and family therapy journals. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. doi: 10.1111/j.1752 0606.2011.00274.x Heatherington, L., & Lavner, J. A. (2008). Coming to terms with coming out: Review and recommendations for family systems focused research Jou rnal of Family Psychology, 22 (3), 329 343. History of the SERU Project and UCUES (2011). Retrieved from http://cshe.berkeley.edu/research/seru/history.htm Hu, S. & Kuh, G. (2003). Diversit y experiences and college student learning and personal development. Journal of College Student Development, 44 ( 3), 329 334. Indiana University Bloomington (2007). The college student experience questionnaire assessment program Retrieved from http://cseq.iub.edu/ Johnson, R. B. & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has c ome. Educational Researcher, 33 (7), 14 26
133 Kossak, S.N. (2005). Exploring the elements of culturally relev ant service delivery. Families in Society, 86 (2), 189 195. Krueger, R., and M.A. ( 2000 ) Focus groups: A practical guide for applied r esearch (3 rd ed ). Thousa nd Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. LaRossa, R & Reitzes, D. C. (1993).Symbolic interactionism and fa mily studies. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Family (14 ). New York, NY: Springer science and Business Media. Longerbeam, S., Inkelas, K. K., Johnson, D., & Lee, Z (2007). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual college student experiences: An exploratory study. Journal of College Student Development, 48 (2), 215 230. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self and society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist. University of Chicago P ress. Mahon, P. (2004). Student development theories. Retrieved from http://www.hpcnet.org/dos/theory_psychosocial Miller, S. J. (2011). African American lesbian identity management and identit y development in the context of family and community. Journal of Homosexuality 58 (4), 547 563. doi:10.1080/00918369.2011.556937 Office of Institutional Planning and Research (2010) Student experience in the research univeristy (SERU). Retrieved from ( http://www.ir.ufl.edu/auth/seru/2011/Master%20Report%20with%20Tables%20FI NAL.pdf ). Onwuegbuzie, A.J., Dickinson, W.B., Leech, N.L. & Zoran, A.G. (2009). A qualita tive framework for collecting and analyzing data in focus group research International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8 (3), 1 21. Pace, C. R. & Kuh, G. D. (1998). College s tudent experiences questionnaire (4 th ed.). Bloomington IN : Indiana University C enter for Postsecondary Research and Planning. Pascarella, E.T. (1987). The development of critical thinking: Does college make a difference? ASHE Annual Meeting Paper. Presented November 21 24, 1987 at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study o f Higher Education in Baltimore, MD. PEW Research (2011). Retrieved from ( http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1994/poll support for acceptance of ho mosexuality gay parenting marriage Poland, B. & Pederson, A. (199 8). Reading between the lines: I nterpreting silence in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry 42 (2), 293 213.
134 Ryan, C., Huebner, D., Diaz, R. M., & Sanchez, J. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in White and La tino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics 123 (1), 346 352. doi:10.1542/peds.2007 3524. Ryan, C., Russell, S. T., Huebner, D., Diaz, R., & Sanchez, J. (2010).Family acceptance in ad ol escence and the health of LGBT young adults. Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing 23( 4), 205 213. doi:1 0.1111/j.1744 6171.2010.00246.x Sheets, J. L., & Mohr, J. J. (2009). Perceived social support from friends and family and psychosocial func tioning in bisexual young adult college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56 (1), 152 163. doi:1 0.1037/0022 018.104.22.168. State University of New York at New Paltz (n.d). Strengthened campus based assessment plan. Retrieved from http://www.newpaltz.edu/GE/scbaplan.pdf Stewart, D.W., Shamdasani, P.N. & Rook, D.W. (2007). Focus gr oups: Theory and practice. London: Sage Publications. Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2008). Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc. Taub, D. J.(2008 ). Exploring the impact of parental involvement on student development. Wiley Periodicals 2008 (122), 15 28. Tinto, V. (1993). Leav ing college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Waldo, C. R. (1998). Out on campus: Sexual orientation and academic climate in a university context. American Journal Of Community Psychology 26 (5), 745. Weber, G. N. (2008). Using to numb the pain: substance use and abuse among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Journal of Mental Health Counselin g, 30 (1), 31 48. Wikman, A. (2006). Reliability, validity and true values in surveys. Social Indicators Research 78 (1) 85 110. Wutich, A., Lant, T., White, D.D., Larson, K.L. & Gartin, M. (2009). Comparing focus group and individual responses on sensitive topics: A study of water decision makers in a desert city. Fi eld Methods, 22 (1) 88 110. U niversity of Minnesota (2011). Office of institutional research. Retrieved from http://www.oir.umn.edu/surveys/seru
135 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Patric ia Jordan received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Florida in 2010 receiving a provisional certification as a Certified Family Life Educator. Then she pursued a higher education in 2010 in the Family, Youth and Community Science Department for a Master of Science degree. Patricia serves as an advocate for minorities in her academic professional career. Patricia will receive her Master of Science degree from the University of Florida in August 2012. Patricia plans to pursue a career in student affairs working with graduate students and families in a university setting.
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