Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 4
As mentioned in previous posts, homophobic attitudes were measured by the question: “Whom would you not wish to be your neighbor most?” which was recoded as a dummy variable with the categories “homosexuals” and “others”.
Respondents’ levels of education have been grouped into one of three categories: secondary or lower education, secondary technical education, and higher education. A liberal values score for each respondent was calculated based on the answers to the following six questions:
The original coding for each question was: 0 = Never, 1 = Sometimes, 2 = Always. Factor analysis was performed (number of items: 6; Cronbach’s Alpha = .80), eventually resulting in a “liberalism scale” measuring respondents’ level of tolerance. An independent sample t-test showed that, unsurprisingly, the higher the level of education, the lower was the reported level of negative attitudes towards homosexuals (t (526) = 2.19, p =. 03). Also, as expected, people with non-homophobic attitudes scored higher on the liberalism scale (M= 0.14, SD = 1.09) than those with homophobic attitudes (M = -0.29, SD = 0.72, t (526) = 5.09, p =.001).
Similarly, Kendall’s rank correlation analysis showed that the higher the level of education, the less homophobic people are ( (Kendall’s τ (526) = - .10, p = .02). Liberal attitudes were negatively associated with homophobia (Kendall’s τ (214) = - .19, p = .01), indicating that tolerance and acceptance of differences can prevent homophobic attitudes.
Finally, the Wald criteria in logistic regression confirmed that low education and lack of liberal values were significant predictors of homophobic attitudes among Tbilisi adults.
Binary logistic estimates for homophobia (N = 526)
The eB value in Model 1 indicates that when level of education increases by one unit, the odds ratio is 0.78 times smaller, and therefore, a person has 0.78 times less chance to be homophobic. In terms of predictive equation, this means that if someone has secondary education, his or her chance of being homophobic is 37%, while for someone with technical education the respective chance decreases to 32%, and for someone with higher education the chance is 27%. Similarly, each additional point on the liberal attitudes scale decreases the risk of homophobia by 0.61 (Model 2).
Even though the data confirms that a low level of education is a significant predictor of homophobic attitudes of the population of Tbilisi, its predictive role disappears when liberal values are brought into the model. This means that, in Tbilisi, people with higher levels of education are less homophobic, but people who share liberal values (acquired through formal education or other sources) are even less likely to have homophobic attitudes.
Generally, education is considered an important tool for combating homophobia. Educated people are often believed to be exposed to liberal values to a greater extent, compared with non-educated individuals. However, formal education in Georgia does not necessarily contribute to internalization of liberal values. A recent study on intercultural education in the primary grades of Georgian schools showed that 47% of interviewed teachers who teach at the primary level in Georgian public schools think that having a non-traditional sexual orientation should be punishable by law.
Further analysis of the May 17 survey data – moderation using bootstrap – showed that people who share liberal values and personally know homosexuals are less homophobic than those who share liberal values but do not know homosexuals personally. In contrast, people who score low on the liberal attitudes scale and personally know homosexuals are even more likely to be homophobic than those who do not share liberal values and do not know homosexuals personally.
To summarize, one of the most salient predictors of homophobic attitudes in Tbilisi is level of education, even provided that, as other studies suggest, tolerance is not specifically promoted in the system of formal education. The predictive role of education, however, disappears when liberal values are added to the statistical model. As moderation analysis shows, the relationship between liberal values and homophobic attitudes is further enhanced by respondents’ personal contact with homosexuals.
These results indicate that fostering liberal attitudes through formal and non-formal education, the media as well as other channels will be a good strategy to address the problem of homophobia in Tbilisi. Concrete policy recommendations will be presented in the final blog of this series.
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
By: Dustin Gilbreath
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the third blog post in the series. Click here to see the first and second blog posts in the series.]
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the second blog post in the series. Click here to see the first blog post.]
CRRC’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) was launched in 2009 as a Carnegie Corporation initiative within the CRRC, with the goal of providing on-the-job training opportunities in applied research for young social scientists.
In August 2012 CRRC launched the study of Georgia’s Workforce Development system, commissioned by the World Bank. Document review and key informant interviews have been used as main research methods in this study. On 19th of December, the World Bank office in Tbilisi hosted a workshop which aimed at presenting and validating the preliminary finding...
As Georgians prepare for parliamentary elections set for October 1, 2012, political parties have entered the final stage of the pre-elections race. One of the important attributes of active citizenship and civic engagement is voting in elections. This blog explores Georgians’ attitudes toward voting in elections based on age group and gender differences. In this r...
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