The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the effects of a cultural competency intervention on dental pre-doctoral students’ attitudes toward individuals of a different sexual orientation. 22 heterosexual students interviewed gay or lesbian individuals and wrote reflective text. Results illustrated that participants found that their interviewees had “surprisingly similar” beliefs and values – especially in the areas of religion and family. Because of their “similar values,” these students expressed respect toward their interviewees who were “so different” than themselves. This conclusion of “sameness” forced them to see homosexuals as people, rather than a stigmatized invisible outgroup, mitigating sexual prejudice.


Heterosexuality, Intervention, Qualitative, Sexual Prejudice, Healthcare

Author Bio(s)

Carol A. Isaac is an Assistant Professor of Research at Mercer University-Atlanta, GA, 30341, USA. Her areas of interest are qualitative research methods, and leadership in the biomedical sciences. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: isaac_ca@mercer.edu.

Linda S. Behar-Horenstein, PhD is a Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy, and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science, University of Florida. Her interests are the intersectionality between pedagogy and outcomes, faculty development; cultural and moral beliefs in educational outcomes; critical thinking and instruction.


This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number and title (Award # D85HP30030-01-00 Enhancement of predoctoral dental education at UF to meet oral health needs of diverse populations Human Educational Resources Service Administration).

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