Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 139–150 | Cite as

Sexism and Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Parenting in a Sample of Heterosexuals and Sexual Minorities: the Mediation Effect of Sexual Stigma

  • Jessica Pistella
  • Annalisa Tanzilli
  • Salvatore Ioverno
  • Vittorio Lingiardi
  • Roberto Baiocco


The present study aimed to: (a) investigate the relationship between attitudes toward same-sex parenting and sexism both in heterosexuals and sexual minorities; (b) verify whether sexism predicted negative attitudes toward same-sex parenting via the mediating role of sexual stigma (sexual prejudice in heterosexual people and internalized sexual stigma [ISS] in lesbians and gay men [LG]). An Italian sample of 477 participants (65.6% heterosexual people and 34.4% LG people) was used to verify three hypotheses: (a) heterosexual men showed higher levels of sexism than heterosexual women and LG people; (b) heterosexual men reported more negative attitudes toward same-sex parenting than those of heterosexual women and LG people; and (c) sexual prejudice in heterosexual people and ISS in LG people mediated the relationship between sexism and attitudes toward same-sex parenting. Overall, men and heterosexual people showed stronger sexist tendencies and more negative attitudes toward same-sex parenting. Moreover, sexism affected attitudes toward same-sex parenting via sexual prejudice in heterosexual people and ISS in LG people. These results suggest that negative attitudes toward same-sex parenting reflect sociocultural inequalities based on the traditional gender belief system and points to the necessity of social policies to reduce prejudice toward sexual minority groups.


Sexism Same-sex parenting Internalized sexual stigma Sexual prejudice Minority stress 



The authors express their sincere gratitude to the sexual minorities and heterosexuals who participated in this study. All authors who contributed significantly to the work have been identified.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


This study was not funded by any grant.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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