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Are Psychologists Biased Against Conservative Christians? An Investigation of Implicit and Explicit Bias Among Training Psychologists

26 June 2018


The main purposes of this study were to assess for bias, both implicit and explicit, among training psychologists against conservative Christians, especially in comparison with bias against Blacks, and to explore whether degree of multicultural training, based on cohort year, was associated with lower levels of bias. Sixty-four clinical psychologists in training at one graduate program were recruited to complete this cross-sectional study, each participant completing each measure of bias. Explicit biases were measured using the Spiritual and Religious Antagonism Scale (SARAS) and the Attitudes Toward Blacks Scale (ATB), as well as using feeling thermometers, while implicit biases were measured using religious and race versions of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Results indicated that participants as a whole demonstrated more explicit bias against religion and spirituality, as well as against conservative Christians, compared with Blacks. Meanwhile, no differences were found in implicit or explicit biases among cohorts, indicating degree of diversity training does not appear to be associated with reduction in bias. Results are discussed in terms of their bearing on diversity training, training psychologists’ clinical work with Christian clients, and the academic atmosphere for Christian trainees.


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