Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Leach, Mark

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Linfield, Kenneth

Committee Member

Linfield, Kenneth

Committee Member

Immekus, Jason

Committee Member

Mitchell, Amanda

Author's Keywords

religiosity; faith development; prejudice; LGBT; contact


Over the last few decades there has been a resurgence of work investigating topics around religion and spirituality (R/S), with the majority of the literature demonstrating associations with positive outcome variables. However, R/S factors have also shown significant relationships with some negative outcomes, most notably prejudice towards sexual and gender minorities (SGM). Following the call of researchers, this study investigates the hypothesized positive relationship between postconventional religious reasoning (PRR), defined as an individual’s ability to engage in critical thinking around R/S ideas while also demonstrating increased perspective-taking, along with other known covariates of prejudice against SGM (religiosity, outgroup contact) to better understand the strength of these relationships. Responses from a total of 178 community participants were examined using an online snowball sampling method, and three hierarchical regressions were conducted. As hypothesized, PRR was shown to negatively relate to prejudice against gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals. These results attest to the continued importance of studying variables related to mature faith development, to better understand how they may be protective against negative outcomes such as prejudice.