Attitudes toward lesbians and gays vary across national populations, and previous research has found relatively more accepting attitudes in the Netherlands as compared to the United States. In this study, we compared beliefs about and attitudes toward lesbians and gays in samples of Dutch and American heterosexual adolescents, utilizing survey data from 1,080 American adolescents (mean age = 15.86 years) attending two schools and from 1,391 Dutch adolescents (mean age = 16.27 years) attending eight schools. Findings indicated the Dutch participants were more tolerant of lesbians and gays, after adjusting for the gender, age, and racial/ethnic minority status of the participants. However, between-country differences were attenuated by accounting for the beliefs about lesbians and gays that participants used to justify their attitudes. American participants were more likely to justify their attitudes using beliefs related to social norms and religious opposition, while the Dutch participants were more likely to justify their attitudes using beliefs related to individual rights and the biological/genetic basis of homosexuality. The results suggest that the relative importance of particular beliefs about lesbians and gays to attitudes at the group level may be context dependent but also that certain beliefs are salient to attitudes across national contexts.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Sex Research|
|State||Published - Feb 12 2015|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The preparation of this manuscript was supported by NIMH center grant P30-MH43520 (P.I.: Robert H. Remien, PhD) to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies. Project support in the United States came from grants to the second author from the Wayne F. Placek Fund of the American Psychological Foundation and a Violence Prevention for Vulnerable Youth Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Copyright © The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.