Personality correlates of homophobia

J Homosex. 1997;34(1):57-69. doi: 10.1300/J082v34n01_05.


This study explored the relationship between homophobia and several personality traits (empathy, religiosity, and coping style) in the context of respondents' gender and age. The sample consisted of 714 college students who responded to the Homophobia Attitude Scale (HAS) and personality trait scales. Results revealed that women endorsed fewer homophobic attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors than men and that age was negatively correlated with homophobia. Empathic concern and perspective taking were significantly correlated with lower overall homophobic attitudes, less affect discomfort in regard to gays, and less likelihood to abridge the human rights of gays. Religiosity was significantly correlated with more biased beliefs about the origins of homophobia, greater affective discomfort around gays, less endorsement of human rights for gays, and greater homophobia. Use of denial and isolation as coping styles were positively related to homophobia and use of turning against style was negatively correlated.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude*
  • Empathy
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality*
  • Prejudice*
  • Religion
  • Sex Factors