Working with Transgender and Gender-variant Youth: Teacher Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perceived Competence
Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP
Terri A Erbacher, PhD
Dianne Smallwood, PsyD, NCSP
Susan Howard, PhD
Despite the fact that research shows that access to supportive adults within the school is consistently associated with better outcomes for LGBTQ students (McGuire, Anderson, Toomey, & Russell, 2010; Kosciw et al., 2018), most teachers do not receive significant training—either preservice or post-certification—about some diversity issues, including gender and sexual orientation (Jennings, 2005). Consequently, many educators lack knowledge about transgender individuals, their needs, experiences, and the unique challenges they face. This survey study explored teachers’ perspectives about working with transgender and gender-variant children and adolescents. A total of 76 teachers in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area, serving students in public and private K-12 schools, completed a survey that examined how perceptions of school inclusivity, teacher training, and previous experience with transgender and gender-variant individuals was related to teacher knowledge about, attitudes toward, and perceptions of confidence for working with gender-minority students. For the first research question, analysis of the data indicated a weak, positive correlation between school inclusivity and teacher knowledge as well as a moderate, positive correlation between school inclusivity and perceived levels of competence in educators. To address the second research question, a series of one-way ANOVAs showed that although the knowledge, attitude, and perceived competence levels of teachers all increased with additional training, the differences between training groups was not significant. For the third research question, a series of independent t-tests showed that increases in experience were associated with increased levels of perceived competence in teachers working with gender minority youth.
Curtis, Charla J., "Working with Transgender and Gender-variant Youth: Teacher Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perceived Competence" (2019). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 499.