An Investigation into the correlates and predictors of sexual prejudice in present society
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The term "Sexual Prejudice" refers to all negative attitudes toward an individual based on sexual orientation. In recent decades there has been a huge increase in society's tolerance of same-sex relationships (Heaven : 1999). It does, however, remain a significant problem with detrimental mental health effects on the stigmatised (Herchberger : 1995). It is, therefore, necessary to investigate the correlates of this prejudice and move forward in attaining the reasons behind remaining Sexual Prejudice. During these decades there has also been a decrease in religiosity. It is being replaced by a broader, more flexible spirituality. This study aimed to investigate the correlates of Sexual Prejudice, as measured by the Index of Homophobia (Hudson : 1980), using a sample of University students with a mean age of 21.65 (n=120). It was based on a questionnaire which contained five measures : Sexual Prejudice, Religiosity, Spirituality, Social Influences and Choice Assumption. Religiosity and Spirituality measures were derived from INSPIRIT (Kass : 1991) and scores for Choice and Social Influences were measured on scales developed for the purpose of this study. Six correlates were established. Their relationships with each other and their impact on the outcome variable (Sexual Prejudice) were analysed. Relationships were found between Sexual Prejudice and each of the predictor variables; higher scores of Sexual Prejudice related to higher scores of religiosity, choice assumption and social influences, supporting Harek (197 : 1995). Furthermore, it was related to lower levels of spirituality, a lesser tendency to possess gay friends and being male (Harek : 1995, Engstorm : 1997). Many relationships between these predictor variables were also evident. These results are discussed with the aim of furthering the research into the identification of strategies which will reduce Sexual Prejudice and the subsequent discrimination.