Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Peer education on LGBT rights in pre-vocational secondary education

In secondary school, homophobic language is common, even in the Netherlands where there is high acceptance of homosexuality in the adult population. Adolescents especially in lower educational levels have prevailingly negative attitudes towards their lesbian and gay peers. Peer education with its participatory approach can provide students with the opportunity to become more aware of and formulate their own ideas about the contested subject of LGBT rights and lifestyles.

2014 - 2022
Marieke Kroneman


  • drs. M. Kroneman - PhD candidate
  • prof. dr. W.F. Admiraal - supervisor
  • dr. Y. Kleistra - co-supervisor

Research questions

  • What are the effects of the peer-led participatory intervention on the social acceptance of sexual diversity of thirteen to eighteen-year old students?
  • What views do peer educators (18-30 years) have on activities they implemented in a peer education in the Netherlands on LGBT rights in secondary education?
  • How does peer education impact on students’ awareness of democratic rights to diversity?

Social relevance

In order to reduce sexual prejudice in adolescents and discuss with them the contested subject of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights peer education methods could be effective.

Scientific relevance

Peer education is narrowly studied on effect measures. Peer educators and students who are involved in peer education have their deliberations about the interactions and attitudes towards the goal of the intervention. These deliberations may have a relation to impact and on developing awareness towards (democratic) rights for sexual diversity. 


We developed a weekly sequenced intervention for students of thirteen to eighteen years old, which is peer-led and has a participatory style. 41 peer educators were trained to carry out the intervention in schools for pre-vocational secondary education.

We examined the impact on students attitudes towards LGB people and on the class climate for LGBT youth. The possibility of disclosing a non-heterosexual orientation in school was also assessed, using a pretest, posttest one-group design. Also the awareness of democratic citizenship was measured.

We also had face-to-face interviews with 26 peer educators about the activities during implementation of the intervention.  

Preliminary findings

In the effect study we found limited and marginal effects of the intervention. There is some evidence that the intervention was better tailored to the needs of female students. Interviews with peer educators showed that the coming out stories of the LGBT peer educators played an important role in activities with the students. Through their coming out peer educators were able to engage students, to create a safe environment and actively change attitudes towards LGBT peers.

Marieke Kroneman, Wilfried Admiraal & Mieke Ketelaars (2018) A Peer-Educator Intervention: Attitudes Towards LGB In Pre-Vocational Secondary Education in the Netherlands. Journal of LGBT Youth, DOI: 10.1080/19361653.2018.1531101

Poster presentation Impact van een peer to peer interventie op de houding tov homo- en biseksualiteit van vmbo leerlingen, Onderwijs Research Dagen juni 2017, Antwerpen

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