Late adolescents' and young adults' attitudes toward homosexuality: The influence of gender, gender role expectation, and interpersonal contact

Lynn C McDonald, Pace University

Abstract

The current study examines attitudes toward lesbians and gay men in a sample of late adolescent/young adult university students. Utilizing the Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Homosexuals and the Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men scales, males' and females' attitudes toward homosexuals in general, and lesbians and gay men separately were examined. Additionally, the Sex Role Egalitarianism scale was used to determine the influence of gender role expectation on attitudes toward these groups. Degree of interpersonal contact with homosexuals was assessed and analyzed relative to its' influence on attitudes toward lesbians, gay men, and homosexuals in general. Finally, parent educational attainment and self-reported grade point average were considered relative to participants' attitudes toward homosexual persons. ^ The results of this study support previous research indicating that males maintain more negative attitudes toward homosexuals than females; and that males' attitudes toward gay men are significantly more negative than their attitudes toward lesbians, while females' attitudes towards gay men and lesbians are essentially equivalent. Gender role expectation was significantly related to attitudes toward lesbians and gay men for both sexes, and degree of sex role egalitarianism was found to moderate the differences in attitudes toward gay men and lesbians that were observed between males and females. Notably for females, sex role egalitarianism was a significantly stronger moderator of attitudes toward homosexuals than for males. Results of this study also lend further support to existing research on the relationship between prior interpersonal contact with homosexuals and attitudes toward this group insofar as prior contact with homosexuals was related to more positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. Neither parent educational attainment nor participant grade point average were significantly related to attitudes toward lesbians or gay men in this research. Results are discussed relative to their implications for clinical psychotherapy in addition to program development for adults and adolescents on the topic of promoting tolerance and safety in the school setting and community. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical|Gender Studies

Recommended Citation

Lynn C McDonald, "Late adolescents' and young adults' attitudes toward homosexuality: The influence of gender, gender role expectation, and interpersonal contact" (January 1, 2007). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3249190.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3249190

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