Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Fischer, Ann

Abstract

This study examined training experiences about transgender identities among 67 doctoral students in APA-accredited clinical and counseling psychology programs in their final year before internship. The extents to which students were exposed to four components of transgender training were examined as possible predictors of affirming attitudes toward transgender clients. Results from this exploratory study suggest that training regarding transgender identities is not being incorporated into graduate program curricula. For each of the training experiences on which participants were asked to report, the most frequent response from students was that they had received no training of that kind at all. Almost 1 in 5 of the sample reported that transgender identities were never addressed in any of their courses and about 2 in 5 reported that they had no didactic training during their practicum experiences. In addition, 2 in 5 reported that they were never asked to explore their personal biases about transgender individuals. This study did not detect a relationship between the combined set of training experiences and affirming attitudes, such that the increase in training did not predict an increase in affirming attitudes. The only significant predictor of affirming attitudes toward transgender clients was the number of times that students were encouraged to explore their biases about transgender individuals. Contrary to the hypothesis, this relationship was negative. As the number of times students were encouraged to explore their biases about transgender individuals increased, scores on the affirming attitudes survey decreased. Interpretations and directions for future research are discussed.

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