Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Sara Bridges

Committee Member

Suzanne Lease

Committee Member

Patrick Murphy

Committee Member

Elin Ovrebo


Despite the increase in visibility and recognition, the rights of LGBTQ+ people continue to be debated and politically challenged. Transgender and gender non-binary people specifically face barriers to healthcare, government documents, and public accommodations. Due to the lack of literature connecting attitudes and expansive systemic protections for this population, this study aims to examine the impact of several constructs and identify what may be critical to explore in future research as components of attitudinal change. Empathy, contact, salience of religious identity, gender role belief, political affiliation, and gender were all identified in previous literature as having a relationship with attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people. Thus, they were utilized in this study to assess their relationship with attitudes toward expansive civil rights protections for TGNB individuals. 99 college students in the United States were participants. A hierarchical multiple regression indicated that empathy and gender role belief remained related to attitudes toward civil rights protections for TGNB individuals when accounting for the other variables. Participants were more likely to support expansive civil rights protections if they experience higher levels of empathy and have less strict gender role beliefs. Further, findings indicate empathy acts as a mechanism in the relationship between contact and attitudes toward civil rights protections. The impact of empathy and gender role beliefs should be considered when exploring how to increase support for expansive civil rights protections for TGNB people even when controlling for other factors known to be related to attitudes. Discussion and implications for future research are provided.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access