Assessing the Needs of Health and Social Care Academics and Workers for LGBT+ Training: The IENE9 project

This original study aimed at exploring the specific LGBT+ training needs of more than 400 health and social care academics and workers and to examine the relationship between these training needs and the four dimensions of the Papadopoulos model (Papadopoulos et al., 2016; Papadopoulos, 2018): (1) cultural awareness; (2) cultural knowledge; (c) cultural sensitivity; and (4) cultural competence.

In the study, we first tested for statistically significant differences on the main variables of the current study between biological sex, type of work and countries. Then, we determined the effects of socio-demographic variables, type of country, cultural awareness (awareness about LGBT+ issues), cultural knowledge (numbers of courses attended, and episodes of homophobic/transphobic discrimination), cultural sensitivity (negative attitudes toward lesbian and gay people), and cultural competence (compassionate attitudes toward LGBT+ people on training needs about LGBT+ issues).

Regarding participants’ awareness about LGBT+ issues, the majority of the sample reported that they were aware about LGBT+ issues and related terms, such as the terms LGBT+, transgender, and gender non-conforming, as well as the phenomenon that is labelled homophobic or transphobic discrimination, and the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results indicated that high training needs on LGBT+ issues were associated with low age, heterosexual sexual orientation, low awareness about LGBT+ issues and a low number of courses on LGBT+ themes, high episodes of homophobic/transphobic discrimination, and compassionate attitudes. Moreover, the needs for training on LGBT+ issues were higher for Cyprus, Romania, Spain, Italy, and the UK, compared to Denmark. Conversely, the training needs on LGBT+ issues were not associated with biological sex, type of work, years of working experiences, and negative attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities, and Germany did not report differences in training needs compared to Denmark.

In line with the Papadopoulos model, compassionate attitudes toward LGBT+ people were one of the most relevant variables predicting positive attitude toward LGBT+ people suggesting the importance of considering positive dimensions related to LGBT+ issue, such as the compassionate attitudes, especially in cultural contexts bound by pronounced heteronormative values. Compassionate attitudes were negatively and strongly correlated with negative attitudes toward lesbian and gay people while it was positively associated with participants’ awareness about LGBT+ issues, and with the number of courses attended.

This study contributes to increasing the scientific knowledge related to the attitudes and beliefs regarding LGBT+ issues and the need for training for health and social care professionals. Empirical data is essential in understanding the level of prejudice and discrimination in society to provide policies and programmes designed to improve knowledge and competencies to deal with sexual and gender minority people.

This study has been submitted to an international peer-review journal.
Full details regarding this research will be added as soon as the manuscript will be accepted for publication.


Papadopoulos, I. (2018) Culturally Competent Compassion. A guide for healthcare students and practitioners. Routledge, London/New York

Papadopoulos, I., Shea, S., Taylor, G., Pezzella, A., & Foley, L. (2016). Developing tools to promote culturally competent compassion, courage, and intercultural communication in healthcare. Journal of Compassionate Health Care, 3(1), 2–10. doi:10.1186/s40639-016-0019-6