Adolescents use some types of homophobic language (e.g., “that’s so gay”) as a form of banter, while other types are directly targeted as an intentional insult (e.g., calling someone a “fag, dyke, homo”). Little research has investigated adolescents’ use and judgments about these types of homophobic language and whether judgments differ if they are used among friends or directed toward non-friend peers. This study investigated how relationship context and victim’s (N = 477, Mage = 14.7, SD = 1.63) emotional responses related to judgments about anti-gay banter and homophobic name-calling. Adolescents evaluated homophobic name-calling as more wrong than anti-gay banter. While adolescents’ evaluations of homophobic name-calling did not differ based on relationship context, adolescents did differentiate between anti-gay banter perpetrated by a friend vs. a peer. Further, emotional responses mediated these relationships in the anti-gay banter situation. These results suggest that adolescents’ judgments about homophobic language are related to the relationship context and the type of homophobic language used.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the entire Safe SPACES research team for their contributions to the overall project: Emilia Chico, Boyd Bellinger, Nicole Darcangelo, Karen Drill, Fausto Lopez, Christina Peters, Tim Tasker. In addition, we thank the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance for their collaboration on the grant and most especially, Shannon Sullivan, David Fischer, and Sarah Schriber (former staff at the Alliance). Y.W. conceived of the current study, participated in statistical analysis and drafted the paper; C.M. and M.E. participated in the management of the data and drafted the paper; S.H. served as PI on the larger project and oversaw measure development, data collection, and data management; conceived of the current study; participated in its design and coordination; and helped to draft the paper. All authors have read and approved the final paper. This project was funded in part through two grants from the Ford Foundation granted to the last author: 20161100.2774.0 and 20171120.2774.0. This paper data will not be deposited.
This project was funded in part through two grants from the Ford Foundation granted to the last author: 20161100.2774.0 and 20171120.2774.0.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Emotional Response
- Homophobic Language
- Relationship Context
- Social Cognitive Domain Theory