Aggression toward homosexuals: Prevalence, correlates, and motives for antigay behaviors among adolescents and young adults

Edmon W Tucker, Florida International University

Abstract

This study examined the motivating factors for perpetrators of antigay harassment and violence among 752 college freshmen. Large numbers of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals (LGB) are victimized solely because of their sexual orientation. The physical and psychological harm suffered by many of these individuals is alarming. In particular, victimization at school is correlated with a variety of other health risks for LGB students. In order for prevention efforts to be effectively tailored, it may be helpful for researchers to first identify what motivates the assailants. This study tested variables capturing demographic, psychosocial, and attitudinal factors. This purposive sample was selected because these students represent the age group most likely to become perpetrators. ^ The findings suggest that harassment of gay people is common and, in many cases, not motivated by particularly negative attitudes toward homosexuals. Instead, LGB individuals may be viewed as a socially acceptable target by others to harass out of boredom, anger at someone else, or in an attempt to assert their own threatened heterosexuality. Social norms, along with the variety and weakness of individual predictors for antigay harassment, further suggest that heterosexism is endemic and pervasive in our society. ^ Physical attacks against homosexuals, although less common, represent a more serious problem for the victims. This study discovered that there were some leading predictors for these assaults, namely, being male, having been maltreated, being a heavy social drinker, and having defensive, antigay attitudes. The implications of these findings and imperatives for social workers are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Social Work|Sociology, General

Recommended Citation

Tucker, Edmon W, "Aggression toward homosexuals: Prevalence, correlates, and motives for antigay behaviors among adolescents and young adults" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3298600.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3298600

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