The effects of attitudes toward homosexuality, induced similarity toward and type of contact with homosexual and heterosexual targets upon aggression



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The present study investigated the relationship of various moderator variables to aggression against homosexual targets. Expressed attitudes toward homosexuality, type of prior contact with the target person, and perceived similarity to the target were employed as the moderator variables. It was hypothesized that aggression would be greater toward homosexual than toward heterosexual targets, and that subjects with expressed negative attitudes would aggress more against homosexual targets. It was also hypothesized that a prior positive contact between subject and target would result in less aggression than negative contact or no prior contact. It was expected that perceived similarity toward a heterosexual target would result in less aggression than perceived dissimilarity. As a result of personal threat, however, when the target was homosexual induced similarity was expected to increase aggression. Subjects were male undergraduate volunteers. Negative and neutral attitude subjects were chosen from those scoring in the upper and lower quartile on the Homosexuality Attitude Scale (HAS). Aggression took the form of negative evaluation of the target person’s interviewing abilities and consequent loss of money to the target person. It was found that subjects aggressed more against the homosexual targets than the heterosexual targets. It was also found that subjects similar to a heterosexual aggressed less than if made to feel dissimilar. However, if the target was homosexual, subjects aggressed equally highly regardless of the similarity or dissimilarity. Subjects indicating a negative attitude toward homosexuality aggressed more against the similar than the dissimilar homosexual target and less against the similar than the dissimilar heterosexual target. Subjects with neutral attitudes were unaffected by the similarity condition with both homosexual and heterosexual targets. Subjects with negative attitudes aggressed highly against homosexual targets regardless of type of prior interaction. Subjects with neutral attitudes attenuated aggression against homosexual targets in the positive prior interaction condition. They did, however, aggress more against a homosexual target after negative interaction than a heterosexual target.



Homosexuality, Attitude (Psychology)