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Concept: Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


Abstract Although the attitudes towards homosexuality have become more liberal, particularly in industrialized Western countries, there is still a great deal of variance in terms of the worldwide levels of homonegativity. Using data from the two most recent waves of the World Values Survey (1999-2004, 2005-2009) this article seeks to explain this variance by means of a multi-level analysis of 79 countries. We include characteristics on the individual level, as age or gender, as well as aggregate variables linked to specificities of the nation-states. In particular, we focus on the religious denomination of a person and her religiosity in order to explain her attitude towards homosexuality. We find clear differences in levels of homonegativity among the followers of the individual religions.

Concepts: Metaphysics, Religion, Morality, Abstraction, Islam, Philosophical terminology, Christianity, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


The U.S. military’s ban on open homosexuality has become an increasingly salient issue since its implementation in 1993 and its repeal in 2011. The military is an organization with a unique professional and social organization. Evaluating military attitudes from a network perspective may offer insight into the role of formal and informal leadership in engendering attitudinal change and cultural tolerance around homosexuality. This study evaluates the role of network centrality and network exposure across formal (command networks) and informal (friendship and perceived leadership networks) structures on attitudes toward homosexuality in the military. This work analyzes survey data from a single cadet company within the U.S. Military Academy (n = 139) prior to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Results indicate that popular students tend to show tolerance toward homosexuality, whereas those who hold command leadership positions are more likely to have personal and professional opposition to homosexuality. In addition, formal superior-subordinate relationships are somewhat more likely to suggest social contagion compared to informal leadership and friendship relationships. Recommendations offer guidance for training strategies particularly with respect to a military leaders and socialization. Future research should monitor these issues relative to the post-DADT environment.

Concepts: Sociology, Leadership, Social psychology, Military of the United States, Homosexuality, Gay, Cadet, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


Internalised homonegativity refers to a gay person’s negative feelings about homosexuality and is believed to stem from negative societal stereotypes and attitudes towards homosexuality. Surprisingly, little research has centred on this link. In this research, we aimed to examine the associations between internalised homonegativity and structural forces, cultural influence, and access to sexual health promotion measures among a sample of 144,177 men who have sex with men (MSM) in 38 European countries. Participants were recruited as part of the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) during 2010. It was a self-completion, multilingual Internet-based survey for men living in Europe who have sex with men and/or feel attracted to men. Assumed causal relations were tested through multiple regression models. Variables at the structure of rule-systems (macro-level) that were significantly and negatively associated with internalised homonegativity were the presence of laws recognising same-sex relationships and same-sex adoption. In the meso-level model, greater proportions of the population expressing that they would not like to have homosexuals as neighbours predicted higher internalised homonegativity. In the last model, five variables were significantly and negatively associated with internalised homonegativity: being exposed to HIV/STI information for MSM, access to HIV testing, access to STI testing, access to condoms, and experience of gay-related hostility. In turn, men who had tested for HIV in the past year evidenced lower internalised homonegativity. This is the largest and certainly most geographically diverse study to date to examine structural and environmental predictors of internalised homonegativity among MSM. Our results show that one insidious consequence of society’s stigma towards homosexuals is the internalisation of that stigma by gay and bisexual men themselves, thus, drawing attention to the importance of promoting social equity for self-acceptance around gay identity in building a positive sense of self.

Concepts: AIDS, LGBT, Regression analysis, Sexual intercourse, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


This study examines how sexual orientation of couples featured in magazine advertisements affects heterosexual viewers' responses using the elaboration likelihood model as a framework. A 3 × 2 × 2 × 3 experiment tested effects of sexual orientation, argument strength, involvement, and attitudes towards homosexuality on heterosexuals' attitudes toward the couple, advertisement, brand, and product, purchase intentions, and recall. Results indicate that consumers were accepting of ads with lesbian portrayals. Participants showed more negative attitudes toward gay male portrayals, but attitudes towards heterosexual and lesbian ads were similar. This effect was moderated by participants' attitudes toward homosexuals. Low involvement consumers showed more negative attitudes toward homosexual portrayals than toward heterosexual portrayals, indicating that sexual orientation may have served as a peripheral cue negatively impacting attitudes toward the couple and ad under low elaboration. These effects were not observed for attitudes toward the brand and product, purchase intentions, or recall.

Concepts: LGBT, Advertising, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Gay, Heterosexuality, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


Using the zero-inflated model and nationally representative sample data from the Chinese General Social Surveys 2013, this study systematically explored the effects of religion, modernizing factors, and traditional culture on attitudes towards homosexuality in China. The findings indicate that most Chinese people generally hold conservative attitudes towards homosexuality, as approximately 78.53% of the respondents believed that “same-sex sexual behavior is always wrong”. Modernizing factors (i.e., education, exposure to internet information and liberal inclinations) predicted greater tolerance for homosexuality, whereas Islamic beliefs negatively influenced respondents' attitudes towards homosexuality. In contrast to the findings of the existing literature, Christian beliefs and traditional culture did not have significant effects on attitudes towards homosexuality. These findings may contribute to the literature by not only quantitatively testing the applicability of several factors identified in most Western studies of this topic but also providing new knowledge of attitudes towards homosexuality in the social context of China.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Sociology, China, Han Chinese, Human sexual behavior, Overseas Chinese, Christianity, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


Attitudes towards homosexuality vary across cultures, with the legal and societal position being rather complicated in India. This study describes the process of developing and validating a Likert-type scale to assess attitudes toward homosexuality amongst heterosexuals. Phase 1 describes the development of the scale. Items were written based on thematic analysis of narratives generated from 50 college students and reviewing existing scales. After administering the 70-item scale to 68 participants, item analysis yielded 20 statements with item-total correlations over .70. Cronbach alpha was .97. In Phase 2, the 20-item Attitudes Towards Homosexuality Scale for Indians (AHSI) was administered to 142 participants. Analysis yielded a corrected split-half correlation of .91. Further, AHSI discriminated between women and men; between liberal arts and STEM/business students; and those who reported interpersonal contact with gay men and lesbian women and those who did not. The scale has satisfactory reliability and shows promising construct validity.

Concepts: LGBT, Psychometrics, Reliability, Cronbach's alpha, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


In this study, we investigated if a single-item indicator measured the degree to which people were open about their same-sex attraction (“out”) as accurately as a multi-item scale. For the multi-item scale, we used the Outness Inventory, which includes three subscales: family, world, and religion. We examined correlations between the single- and multi-item measures; between the single-item indicator and the subscales of the multi-item scale; and between the measures and internalized homonegativity, social attitudes towards homosexuality, and depressive symptoms. In addition, we calculated Tjur’s R (2) as a measure of predictive power of the single-item indicator, multi-item scale, and subscales of the multi-item scale in predicting two health-related outcomes: depressive symptoms and condomless anal sex with multiple partners. There was a strong correlation between the single- and multi-item measures (r = 0.73). Furthermore, there were strong correlations between the single-item indicator and each subscale of the multi-item scale: family (r = 0.70), world (r = 0.77), and religion (r = 0.50). In addition, the correlations between the single-item indicator and internalized homonegativity (r = -0.63), social attitudes towards homosexuality (r = -0.38), and depression (r = -0.14) were higher than those between the multi-item scale and internalized homonegativity (r = -0.55), social attitudes towards homosexuality (r = -0.21), and depression (r = -0.13). Contrary to the premise that multi-item measures are superior to single-item measures, our collective findings indicate that the single-item indicator of outness performs better than the multi-item scale of outness.

Concepts: Correlation and dependence, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Anal sex, Men who have sex with men, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality, Sodomy law