Lecture 10: Sexual Orientation & Mental Health Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY320H1F: Social Psychology of Attitudes with C. Midgley > Lecture 10: Sexual Orientation & Mental Health > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 10: Sexual Orientation & Mental Health Deck (20)
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homophobia (4)

  • Fear (or “dread”) of homosexuals (or sexual minorities).
  • Somewhat outdated.
  • Only captures a small range of negative attitudes; negative attitudes towards sexual minorities not always fear-based.
  • The “closeted homophobe” myth (MacInnis, 2013)—the term homophobia is often related to the idea that people are only homophobic if they’re afraid of or suppressing their own sexuality.


homonegativity (4)

  • Negative evaluations/reactions to sexual minorities.
  • Created to address weakness of “homophobia”.
  • Broader range of negative responses (e.g. anger, annoyance, dismissiveness).
  • More useful for attitude research as well as it covers more attitudes of negative valence.


heterosexism (5)

  • A system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships.
  • A system of oppression, distinct from individual prejudices; it exists on an institutional and societal level.
  • Homophobia and homonegativity could be thought of as the “effects” of heterosexism.
  • Understanding heterosexism as a social phenomenon also allows us to understand internalized heterosexism.
    • Distinction between external and internal heterosexism is also important for understanding the mental health consequences of heterosexism.


external heterosexism (4)

  • When heterosexist attitudes, biases, and discrimination are applied to others.
  • e.g. Heterosexuals’ attitudes and behaviours towards sexual minorities.
  • “Attitudes about Others”
  • Often focusses in terms of and draws upon intergroup theory.


internal heterosexism (6)

  • When heterosexist attitudes, biases and experiences of discrimination are internalized.
  • e.g. Sexual minorities’ negative feelings about their sexual identity or attraction.
  • e.g. Negative attitudes about sexual identity match negative attitudes in society.
  • “Attitudes about the Self”
  • Can be thought about as a part of domain-specific self-esteem.
  • Caveat: can also take the form of negative attitudes towards other sexual minorities.


The Minority Stress Model

  • On average, sexual minorities have much higher rates of anxiety and/or mood disorders than the general population.


self-report scales measuring external heterosexism (3)


self-report scales measuring internal heterosexism (2)


problems with measuring heterosexist attitudes (5)

  • Who is Represented?
    • Gender → different experiences of heterosexism, different attitudes.
    • Most scales designed for gay men, or change gendered language to suit lesbians.
    • Unique attitudes towards bisexuals, queer people, asexuals and other sexual minorities.
  • Changing Times: Many measures may be increasingly invalid, as attitudes towards sexual minorities are rapidly changing.


what external heterosexism looks like (5)

  • Discrimination and prejudice (e.g. “job misfit”; Pichler, 2010).
  • Beliefs about non-heterosexual behaviour (e.g. mental illness, immorality).
  • Negative emotional responses (e.g. fear, disgust).
  • Stereotypes (e.g. promiscuity, less masculine/feminine).
  • Beliefs/stereotypes about sexual minorities often overlap with gender stereotypes.


Massey (2010) (8)

  • Explored positive/negative beliefs about sexual minorities.
  • Participants were asked to list as many positive and negative qualities about gay men and lesbians as possible.
  • Many of the negative things listed were “undesirable gendered traits”; e.g. men were described using derogatory things traditionally used for women.
    • The most common thing for men was that they’re “like women” and women were “like men”.
  • Many of the positive traits drew on “desirable gendered traits”; e.g. gay men are more emotional and caring, while lesbians are more athletic or strong.
    • The most common positive trait for women was actually that their sexuality is an object to be enjoyed by heterosexual men.
  • This demonstrates how heterosexism targets genders differently, as well as how women’s sexuality is derogated compared to men.
  • Overall, gender norm transgression is seen as both a negative and a positive.


Burn (2000) (5)

  • Looked at heterosexual men’s use of anti-gay slurs to deride other heterosexual men. The sample of men who were all high in anti-gay behaviours (e.g. using slurs often) were split into two groups based on their attitudes.
  • Correlation between anti-gay behaviours and negative attitudes.
  • But only moderate correlation?
    • Individuals with high in negative attitudes (the “anti-gay” group) were high in homonegativity, and unwilling to change their behaviour.
    • The group that was low in negative attitudes (the “external conformity” group) scored low in homonegativity and actually willing to change their behaviour.


Burke (2017) (5)

  • Example of a problem with a generalized approach to sexual prejudice.
    • Some sexual minorities may be more accepted.
  • Does Need for Closure predict negativity towards bisexuals?
    • Need for Closure: High NFC individuals prefer to structure information simply, dislike ambiguity, deviations from the norm.
  • Bisexuality complicates standard sexual binaries, adds social categories.
  • Conservatism, social dominance orientation and perspective taking all predicted attitudes towards all sexual minorities.
  • But NFC predicted especially negative attitudes towards bisexuals.


Herek et al. (2009) (10)

  • Explored whether heterosexism is an attitude, and what effects that might have on mental health.
  • Study 1: If internalized heterosexism is an attitude, it should predict beliefs, feelings and behaviours. They found that people high in IH:
    • Associated more “costs” with sexual orientation (cognition);
    • Had lower collective self-esteem (i.e. positive group identity; affect);
    • And had less “outness”, i.e. more concealment of identity (behaviour).
  • Study 2: If internalized heterosexism is a negative attitude about the self, should predict mental health consequences. Found that higher IH:
    • Predicted greater psychological distress and lower positive affect;
    • And predicted lower global self-esteem.
    • Low global self-esteem mediated mental health consequences of internalized heterosexism.
    • i.e. People high in IH and had low global self-esteem as a result of this high IH were more likely to develop mental health problems later on.


effects of social connection on internal heterosexism (5)

  • Psychological variables (e.g. self-esteem, self-criticism) mediate internalized heterosexism and mental health.
  • But social factors also play a strong role.
    • Social support buffers minority stress (Sattler, 2016).
    • Community connectedness mediates IH and mental health (Puckett, 2015).
  • Having strong, positive ties to other sexual minorities may be a protective factor.


Mohr (2016) (3)

  • Used daily diary methods to examine daily changes in levels of internalized heterosexism, wellbeing.
  • Participants were asked about daily positive and negative Identity Salient Experiences (ISEs): “events in the previous 24 hours that were related to your being an LGB person or to sexual orientation issues.”
  • Positive ISEs → subsequent decrease in IH, suggesting that positive social interaction may play a role in reducing negative attitudes.


Mason (2015) (4)

  • When is experienced heterosexism internalized?
  • Found a link between EH and IH in sexual minority women.
  • When women were high or low in EH and also had high collective self-esteem, they had less IH.
  • However, when women had high EH and low collective self-esteem, they had much greater levels of IH.


Lin (2012) (9)

  • Tested a series of "modules" targeting internal heterosexism.
    • Module 1: Challenging beliefs and stereotypes.
    • Module 2: Asking where these negative messages come from and highlighting the role of socialization.
    • Module 3: Encouraging affirmation.
  • One group completed the IH-targeted module, and another just a stress reduction module.
  • Then completed an IH inventory.
    • Found that IH intervention reduced IH and increased gay affirmation.
    • Did not influence perception of morality of homosexuality (but most likely due to floor effects).
  • Regardless, it demonstrates that IH can be reduced by targeting cognitive and affective components of an attitude.


pinkwashing (4)

  • Persuasion by appealing to positive attitudes with “LGBTQ positive” messages and imagery.
  • Pinkwashing in advertisements has worked by creating associations between products and LGBTQ attitudes.
  • e.g. “Ethical Oil” Campaign: Conservative attempt to “rebrand” Canadian oil sands as ethical, “gay- friendly” oil source.
    • Superficial appeal to positive attitudes about LGBTQ people.


homonationalism (2)

  • Invoking LGBTQ rights to justify racist and xenophobic practices.
  • “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful, foreign ideology, believe me.”—Donald Trump
    • Protecting “gay rights” used as justification for immigration ban.