Study of Naval Officers' attitudes toward homosexuals in the Military
Bicknell, John W.
Eitelberg, Mark J.
Simon, Cary A.
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This study examines the attitudes of Naval officers concerning homosexuals in the military, including trends in attitudes over the past six years and understanding of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The study also compares attitudes of Navy and Marine Corps officers on the topic. A survey, used in two previous studies (1994 and 1996), was distributed to Naval officers at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in October 1999. Hypothesis testing, factor analysis, and regression analysis were used to analyze responses to the survey. The results show that Naval officers are less tolerant of homosexuals in the military than is the general population; Navy officers are more tolerant than Marine officers; Navy women are more tolerant than men of either service; and junior officers tend to be more tolerant than those in higher ranks. Further, officers with casual or no homosexual acquaintances are less tolerant than are those with friends or relatives who are homosexual. A general trend toward increasing tolerance was observed over the six-year period; yet, levels of misunderstanding regarding the details of the military's policy were as high in 1999 as in earlier years. It is recommended that this study be replicated with a larger military sample.
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