A behavioral measure of males' aggression toward homosexuals
McKay, J. Sean
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To date, with one notable exception, virtually no studies have examined the construct of homophobia and aggression toward homosexuals through measures beyond survey and questionnaire data. The present study attempted to examine these issues in a multimodal approach through both questionnaire and behavioral data. Questionnaires were completed by male college students in order to assess the relationships between homophobia, anger, and hypermasculinity. Ninety-six male participants were then paired with a confederate who posed as either a heterosexual or homosexual fellow participant. Participant-confederate pairs worked on a simple word-find puzzle task, in either a competitive or collaborative situation, to manipulate the levels of anger experienced by the participant. Participants were then given the opportunity to exhibit aggression toward the confederate through the administration of bogus distractor noises during a study period for the confederate. Correlational findings showed that homophobia is related to aggressive behavior as well as the hypermasculine construct. However, the behavioral link between homophobia and aggression toward homosexuals exhibited a more complex relationship than that originally hypothesized. Engaging in competition elevated levels of aggression exhibited toward confederates, regardless of sexual orientation. Overall, however, the link between subject homophobia and aggression toward confederates differed depending on sexual orientation of confederate. When paired with heterosexual targets, a strong link was found between subject level of homophobia and aggression toward the confederate. When the target was homosexual, on the other hand, no relationships were found. It appeared that the presence or absence of extraneous variables may have affected the levels of aggression exhibited toward homosexuals. Variables that possibly played a role in aggression toward homosexuals, as well as implications of these issues, are discussed.