There are millions of homophobic people out there, who would make a lot efforts to show their hatred towards homosexuality. While some would merely perceive them as intolerant, a team of Italian experts reveal that the homophobic attitude actually says a lot about the person.
It seems that people who reject homosexuality are more likely to have various psychological issues than those who accept it. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that people who are homophobic are also psychotic, they are more prone to display anger, hostility, and be aggressive with other people.
The lead study author, Emmanuele Jannini, who is an endocrinologist and sexologist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, says that homophobia is associated with psychological issues.
The study involved more than 550 people, whose ages varied from 18 to 30. They were asked to answer questions related to their homophobic attitudes, as well as to their mental health, including their likelihood to suffer from depression, psychoticism and anxiety.
In order to establish their level of homophobia, these people were asked to rate various statements, according to their beliefs. Afterwards, they responded to questions related to the type of defense mechanisms they sometimes adopted.
After reviewing the answers, the researchers found that people who were healthier mentally, were also less inclined to be homophobic, while people who showed immature defense mechanisms tended to despise homosexual relationships. Those who were uncomfortable with close relationships or were hostile and often showed anger also had higher levels of homophobia.
On the other hand, people who suffered from depression or had neurotic defense mechanisms, such as repression or hypochondria, were not homophobic.
Thus, while homophobia seems to be linked to certain mental issues, this is certainly not the whole picture. The researchers are planning to look even deeper into the matter and see up to what extent an individual’s fear of not being “man enough” might be associated with homophobia.
A few studies have previously explained that the intolerant reaction to people who are part of the LGBT community stems from a same-sex desire that the individual has and represses. Other studies prove that, on the contrary, factors like religion, mysoginy or hypermasculiny are determinant when it comes to negative reactions to homosexuality.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on September 8.
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