from Clinical/Therapeutic Issues
The first study, "Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Manifestations of Anti-Lesbian and Gay Prejudice: An Application of Personal Construct Theory," attempted to discover how heterosexual prejudices impact relationships and attitudes toward lesbians and gay persons.
The University of Florida researchers collected data from 186 individuals who considered themselves exclusively or mostly heterosexual. They were given the following questionnaires: Lesbian/Gay Threat Scale; The Attitudes Toward Lesbians, and Gay Men Scale; Klein Sexual Orientation Grid; The Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding; and a demographics questionnaire.
These individuals were solicited from undergraduate psychology courses and they received extra credit for participating.
The study was designed to discover how individuals are threatened by lesbians or gays and what the link is between this threat and anti-gay attitudes and positive self-conception. The results indicated that "for participants with high levels of LG threat, expressing anti-LG attitudes was related positively to self-deceptive enhancement (i.e., efforts toward positive self-presentation). These patterns were reversed for participants with low levels of LG threat for whom lower levels of anti-LG attitudes were associated with positive self-perception and self-presentation."
According to the researchers, these findings indicate that they "can inform individual and group counseling, training, and prevention programs aimed to reduce anti-LG prejudice."
In "Stigma Consciousness, Social Constraints, and Lesbian Well-Being," the researchers hypothesized that "stigma consciousness" may "inhibit behavioral actions and social interactions that could serve to provide disconfirming evidence of such prejudice and discrimination (e.g., one does not disclose sexual orientation for fear of discrimination to a person who would be validating.)"
The study also theorized that social constraints could impact internalized homophobia, and negative thoughts about being a lesbian. One hundred and five lesbians participated in this research project. They were solicited from gay organizations, publications, gay bookstores and word of mouth (snowballing).
They were given a Stigma Consciousness Scale, Intrusive Thoughts Scale, Social Constraints Questionnaire, and Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale to measure mental attitudes.
The results of the study found that "Stigma consciousness, the expectation of others' prejudice and discrimination being directed at lesbians, was associated positively with intrusive thoughts, lesbian-related stress, negative mood, and self-reports of physical symptoms-but not with internalized homophobia in the regression analysis."
The researchers observe: "These results suggest that eliminating social constraints in talking with significant others about lesbian-related issues may be an important component in assisting lesbians in coping with high expectations of discrimination and prejudice."