Date of Award
College of Liberal Arts
Type of Degree
Decades of research on attitudes toward non-heterosexuals has found that heterosexual males are significantly more negative towards gay men than lesbians, while females generally have similar attitudes toward both. Using a terror management research design, the current research investigates the influence of the fear of femininity and the fear of mortality on attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. Two hundred forty-seven introductory psychology students were primed to fear their own mortality, their femininity or masculinity, or dental pain. Sexual prejudice scores were consistent with prior research, but the findings were not consistent with either a mortality salience effect or femininity salience effect. Women primed to fear their own masculinity had the lowest sexual prejudice scores indicating a possible empathic response. Heterosexual women’s attitudes toward gay men were influenced by the order of presentation, indicating a possible covert bias not found in self-report measures.
Caswell, Timothy Andrew, "The Fear of Femininity vs. the Fear of Death and Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gay Men" (2003). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 527.