Description: This study investigates the relationship between an individual's attitude toward gay men and lesbians and their identity development. The sample included 440 undergraduates from a university in the northeast Texas area. Many, if not all, of the factors that are associated with negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians (i.e., restrictive gender-role attitudes, high levels of authoritarianism, perceptions of negative attitudes toward homosexuals within their peer group, little or no contact with homosexuals, and conservative religious ideologies) have a logical relation to identity development. Furthermore, the various functions that attitudes toward gays and lesbians can serve (e.g., value-expression, group membership) were hypothesized to be especially attractive for persons in specific identity statuses. Thus, the case was made that identity development may be a valuable framework in which to understand attitudes toward gays and lesbians. In the current study, attitudes toward gays and lesbians were related to identity development, though the relationship is complex. When comparing persons who were higher and lower on absolutism, attitude toward gays and lesbians were most similar in achieved identity groups, while those who were foreclosed were the most disparate. In the interaction between identity, absolutism and gender role stereotyping, some groups utilized their attitude to express values more than other groups. Clinical implications as well as limitations of the study are discussed.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Tureau, Zachary L.