The moderating roles of contact and closeness on the relationship between conservative beliefs and homophobic attitudes



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This research aims to determine whether having contact and/or close relationships with gay men and lesbian women reduces homophobic attitudes in individuals who hold conservative values. It also explores the relationship between gender and homophobia. Study 1 examined the correlations between two predictor variables—religiosity and right- wing authoritarianism (RWA)—and two predicted variables—homophobia and ambivalence. The moderating roles of contact—operationalized as a participant’s number of friends who are gay men and/or lesbian women (GL)—and relationship closeness with GL friends on these relationships were also investigated. Analyses revealed that both religiosity and RWA significantly predicted higher homophobia. Additionally, contact significantly moderated these relationships, resulting in lower homophobia. Study 2 experimentally investigated whether imagining contact with a gay man or lesbian woman was associated with anxiety. Participants were asked to imagine interacting with a GL individual or a neutral control before completing a measure of intergroup anxiety. Intergroup anxiety was predicted to be stronger after imagined contact with a gay man than imagined contact with a lesbian woman and higher in male-identified participants than in female-identified participants. The results of Study 2 approached statistical significance but did not provide clear support for the hypotheses. The implications of these studies are discussed, along with limitations and directions for future research.



Homonegativity, religiosity