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The relative importance of gender role attitudes to male and female attitudes toward lesbians

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Previous studies suggest that gender role attitudes, parental attitudes, authoritarianism, religiosity, contact with homosexuals, and exposure to educational influences are associated with attitudes toward homosexuals. Few studies have been conducted on attitudes toward lesbians specifically. This study investigated the pattern of predictors for male and female attitudes toward lesbians. The regression analysis on males revealed that gender role attitudes were the only significant predictor, while gender role attitudes, parental attitudes, authoritarianism, and educational and media influences made a contribution to female attitudes toward lesbians. Despite more liberal gender role attitudes expressed by female respondents, there was no difference between male and female attitudes toward lesbians. This finding and the additional contribution to female attitudes toward lesbians made by the other predictors besides gender role attitudes suggests that the female respondents' development of attitudes toward lesbians is a product of a wider array of variables, with gender role attitudes playing a more central role in the development of male attitudes toward lesbians. Nevertheless, the importance of gender role attitudes to both male and female attitudes toward lesbians suggests that stratification by sex might be an underlying variable for both gender role attitudes and attitudes toward lesbians.

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The author wishes to thank Esther Sales, Gary Koeske, Barbara Shore, and Randi Koeske for their guidance with the research study. Much thanks also to Katherine M. Bezak for assistance with editing this and earlier drafts of this article.

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Newman, B.S. The relative importance of gender role attitudes to male and female attitudes toward lesbians. Sex Roles 21, 451–465 (1989).

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  • Regression Analysis
  • Stratification
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Role
  • Additional Contribution