Quality & Quantity

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 1761–1778 | Cite as

Homosexuality, homophobia and support for Lesbians and Gay human rights

Relationship between affective and cognitive reaction toward homosexuals: an exploratory study in a Southern Italian sample


Studies on homophobia found the origin of discriminatory attitudes regarding homosexuals in conceptual equations presenting homosexuality either as a genetic error, or as psychological “disturbance” or at other times as a ‘mistake’ in the socialization process. Although in respect to the more or less recent past, today we witness a greater amount of openness toward homosexuals which has above all affirmed juridical equality, yet discriminatory attitudes seem to persist in mentalities and social practices. This study investigates homophobia in Sicilian society, where the culture has traditionally focused on the ‘male cult’, with strong sexist and homophobic attitudes. In particular, it explores the relationship between an emotional or affective negative reaction toward homosexuals and a more cognitive or rational reaction toward homosexuality particularly linked to the degree of support for Gay and Lesbian human rights issues. It is our hypothesis that it is possible to feel uncomfortable in associating with homosexuals without necessarily refusing them social and political equality.The findings seem to confirm the idea that knowing one reaction the other reaction can’t be necessarily inferred. They in fact show that there is no a relationship between an affective reaction (measured by revised version of the Hudson/Ricketts Index of Homophobia or IAH scale) and a cognitive one toward homosexuality.


Homosexuality Homophobia Affective negative reaction toward homosexuals Cognitive or rational reaction toward homosexuality HIP scale  Support for Gay and Lesbian human rights 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social SciencesCatania UniversityCataniaItaly

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