Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 2208–2218 | Cite as

Does Location of Practice or Religiosity Predict Negative Physician Attitudes or Beliefs Toward LGB+ Individuals?

  • Tara M. PrairieEmail author
  • Bethany Wrye
  • Angela S. Bowman
  • Norman Weatherby
  • Garvita Thareja
Original Paper


The purpose of this study is to extend the Sabin et al’s. (Am J Public Health 105(9):1831–1841, 2015. findings to examine the extent to which religiosity and/or geographic region is predictive of negative attitudes or beliefs toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and asexual (LGB+) individuals. Secondary data from the Sexuality Implicit Association Test were analyzed. Data included only participants from 2013 to 2015 who identified “Healthcare – Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners” as their occupation (n = 1376). The results of a factorial ANOVA revealed significant group differences accounting for 22.4% of the variance in attitudes toward LGB+ individuals. Religiosity was a significant factor in determining negative attitudes toward LGB+ individuals. However, the study was underpowered (5.8%) to detect an effect of geographic location in determining negative attitudes toward LGB+ individuals. It is important to validate a tool that can adequately measure the common assumptions associated with both religion and geographic region. Additionally, medical educators need to learn how to recognize and address negative attitudes among their students.


Physician attitudes Sexual and gender minority Religiosity Geographic location 



The study referenced in this article was not funded.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

The article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


  1. Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, S. S. (2009). Where conscience meets desire: Refusal of health care providers to honor health care proxies for sexual minorities. Women’s Rights Law Report,31(1), 1–31.Google Scholar
  3. Barton, B. (2010). “Abomination”—Life as a Bible belt gay. Journal of Homosexuality,57(4), 465–484. Scholar
  4. Bolzendahl, C. I., & Myers, D. J. (2004). Feminist attitudes and support for gender equality: Opinion change in women and men, 1974–1998. Social Forces,83(2), 759–789. Scholar
  5. Bonvicini, K. A., & Perlin, M. J. (2003). The same but different: Clinician-patient communication with gay and lesbian patients. Patient Education and Counseling,51(2), 115–122. Scholar
  6. Carter, J. S., & Borch, C. A. (2005). Assessing the effects of urbanism and regionalism on gender-role attitudes, 1974–1998*. Sociological Inquiry,75(4), 548–563. Scholar
  7. Chapman, R., Watkins, R., Zappia, T., Nicol, P., & Shields, L. (2012). Nursing and medical students’ attitude, knowledge and beliefs regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents seeking health care for their children. Journal of Clinical Nursing,21(1–8), 938–945. Scholar
  8. Eldridge, V. L., Mack, L., & Swank, E. (2006). Explaining comfort with homosexuality in rural America. Journal of Homosexuality,51(2), 39–56. Scholar
  9. Gray, M. L., Johnson, C. R., & Gilley, B. J. (Eds.). (2016). Queering the countryside: New frontiers in rural queer studies. New York (NY): New York University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Herek, G. M., & Glunt, E. K. (1993). Interpersonal contact and heterosexuals’ attitudes toward gay men: Results from a national survey. Journal of Sex Research,30(3), 239–244. Scholar
  11. Hollenbach, A. D., Eckstrand, K. L., & Dreger, A. D. (Eds.). (2014). Implementing curricular and institutional climate changes to improve health care for individuals who are LGBT, gender nonconforming, or born with DSD: A resource for medical educators. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges.Google Scholar
  12. IBM Corp. Released 2011. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.Google Scholar
  13. Kelly, J. A., St Lawrence, J. S., Smith, S., Jr., Hood, H. V., & Cook, D. J. (1987). Medical students’ attitudes toward AIDS and homosexual patients. Academic Medicine,62(7), 549–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Klamen, D. L., Grossman, L. S., & Kopacz, D. R. (1999). Medical student homophobia. Journal of Homosexuality,37(1), 53–63. Scholar
  15. Lapinski, J., Sexton, P., & Baker, L. (2014). Acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients, attitudes about their treatment, and related medical knowledge among osteopathic medical students. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association,114(10), 788–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lemelle, A. J., Jr., & Battle, J. (2004). Black masculinity matters in attitudes toward gay males. Journal of Homosexuality,47(1), 39–51. Scholar
  17. Loftus, J. (2001). America’s liberalization in attitudes toward homosexuality, 1973 to 1998. American Sociological Review,66(5), 762–782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nosek, B. A., Smyth, F. L., Hansen, J. J., Devos, T., Lindner, N. M., Ratliff, K. A., et al. (2007). Pervasiveness and correlates of implicit attitudes and stereotypes. European Review of Social Psychology, 18, 36–88. Retrieved from Scholar
  19. Obedin-Maliver, J., Goldsmith, E. S., Stewart, L., White, W., Tran, E., Brenman, S., et al. (2011). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-related content in undergraduate medical education. JAMA,306(9), 971–977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Patten, E. (2013). The black-white and urban rural divides in perceptions of racial fairness. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Retrieved from
  21. Prairie, T. M., Wrye, B., & Murfree, S. (2017). Intersections of physician autonomy, religion, and health care when working with LGBT+ patients. Health Promotion Practice. Scholar
  22. Reibman, R. (2009). Patient wanted the doctor to treat her in the closet, but the Janitor wouldn’t open the door: Healthcare provider rights of refusal versus LGB rights to reproductive and elder healthcare. Temple Journal of Science Technology & Environmental Law,28, 65–92.Google Scholar
  23. Rice, T. W., & Coates, D. L. (1995). Gender role attitudes in the southern United States. Gender & Society,9(6), 744–756. Scholar
  24. Röndahl, G., Innala, S., & Carlsson, M. (2004). Nursing staff and nursing students’ emotions toward homosexual patients and their wish to refrain from nursing, if the option existed. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Services,18(1), 19–26. Scholar
  25. Sabin, J. A., Riskind, R. G., & Nosek, B. A. (2015). Health care providers’ implicit and explicit attitudes toward lesbian women and gay men. American Journal of Public Health,105(9), 1831–1841. Scholar
  26. Sanchez, N. F., Rabatin, J., Sanchez, J. P., Hubbard, S., & Kalet, A. (2006). Medical students’ ability to care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered patients. Family Medicine-Kansas City-,38(1), 21.Google Scholar
  27. Sirota, T. (2013). Attitudes among nurse educators toward homosexuality. Journal of Nursing Education,52(4), 219–227. Scholar
  28. Swank, E., Frost, D. M., & Fahs, B. (2012). Rural location and exposure to minority stress among sexual minorities in the United States. Psychology & Sexuality,3(3), 226–243. Scholar
  29. Twenge, J. M. (1997). Attitudes toward women, 1970–1995 a meta-analysis. Psychology of Women Quarterly,21(1), 35–51. Scholar
  30. Ulrich-Schad, J. D., & Duncan, C. M. (2018). People and places left behind: Work, culture and politics in the rural United States. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 45(1), 59–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. United States Census Bureau. (2010). Millersville City, TN QuickFacts. Retrieved from,US/POP010210.
  32. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2013). Rural-urban continuum codes. Retrieved from
  33. Wald, K. D., & Calhoun-Brown, A. (2018). Religion and politics in the United States. Latham, MD.Google Scholar
  34. Wilson, C. K., West, L., Stepleman, L., Villarosa, M., Ange, B., Decker, M., et al. (2014). Attitudes toward LGBT patients among students in the health professions: Influence of demographics and discipline. LGBT Health,1(3), 204–211. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health and Human PerformanceTennessee Wesleyan UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.Health and Human PerformanceMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboroUSA

Personalised recommendations