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Attitudes toward male and female homosexuality and sex-role stereotypes in Israeli and American students


Although the legal and psychiatric status of homosexuals has drastically changed, public prejudice about homosexuality has not disappeared. Former studies have developed the idea that homophobia is closely related to conservatism in sex-role polarization. The present research investigated sex differences in attitudes toward male and female homosexuality and sex-role polarization in a cross-cultural perspective, comparing young, educated Israelis and Americans. One-hundred seventy students participated in the study, completing a sex-role survey, an attitude toward homosexuality questionnaire, and a social desirability scale. The results indicated that Israelis were more homophobic and more conservative in their sex-role polarization than Americans. Men were more homophobic and more generally conservative in sex-role orientation than women. A positive relationship was found between sex-role polarization and rejection of homosexuality within each of the samples. The results could not be attributed to social desirability. The significance of these findings is discussed in the context of sex differences and differences between Israeli and American cultures.

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Author information

Correspondence to Amia Lieblich.

Additional information

The research reported here was conducted for an M.A. thesis of the second author under the supervision of the first author (in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master's degree in psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

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Lieblich, A., Friedman, G. Attitudes toward male and female homosexuality and sex-role stereotypes in Israeli and American students. Sex Roles 12, 561–570 (1985).

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  • Positive Relationship
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Desirability
  • Psychiatric Status
  • American Student