Reducing Stigma toward Sexual Minorities: Acceptance-Based versus Traditional Safe Zone Training.

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

John McNeill

First Committee Member

Chad Emrick

Second Committee Member

Fernand Lubuguin


Homonegativity; Homosexuality--Psychological aspects


Homophobia continues to exist in society. Homonegative attitudes are often implicit and can be acquired without direct training, which makes them particularly resistant to change. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) is a behavior analytic account of learning processes and can explain these processes of indirect learning. RFT also suggests therapeutic processes for dismantling stigma using a therapy model named Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This paper reviews previous research on traditional multicultural training, and addresses its shortcomings. Specifically, this paper makes the argument that traditional models encourage experiential avoidance and thus further perpetuate the processes that maintain stigma. While a handful of studies have examined stigma interventions using ACT, no ACT studies have been completed specifically on the stigma towards gay and lesbian individuals. This paper concludes with a research proposal for such a study.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


58 pages

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