Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Ieva, Kara P.

Committee Member 1

Ferguson, Sarah

Committee Member 2

Kerrigan, Monica Reid


Counseling Competencies, Elementary School, LGBTQ, School Counseling


Student counselors--Attitudes; Sexual orientation


Elementary Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


It is estimated that there are over three million lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the United States. Based on their perceived or real sexual orientation and gender identity, these youth face multiple accounts of bias and discrimination in schools. As a source of solace, many LGBTQ students seek out adult supports in school, namely the school counselor. While extensive research exists about the interactions and capabilities of secondary school counselors to work with LGBTQ youth, there is a limited research surrounding elementary school counselor's competencies with this population. The purpose of this quantitative research was to explore elementary PSCs knowledge, skills, and dispositions to working with LGBTQ youth and factors that may influence these competencies. The current study consisted of 111 elementary professional school counselors across the United States. The results of this study indicated a significant relationship between low multicultural competency and leadership ability with low LGBTQ counseling skills. Additionally, the analysis found multiple systemic barriers that impede elementary school counselors work with LGBTQ youth. This study did not find a significant difference between elementary school counselors work setting and their LGBTQ counseling competencies. The findings suggest a need for further examination of the impact the identified barriers cause in hindering elementary school counselors work with LGBTQ youth.