Social Norms and Egalitarian Values Mitigate Authoritarian Intolerance Toward Sexual Minorities

Clifton M. Oyamot, Melinda S. Jackson, Emily L. Fisher, Grace Deason, Eugene Borgida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the United States, acceptance of sexual minorities (e.g., gay men and lesbians) has increased substantially since the early 1990s. This study examined whether authoritarians' attitudes have been influenced by the societal shift toward greater acceptance of sexual minorities. Using data from the American National Election Studies (ANES) collected between 1992 and 2012, we tested a model in which authoritarianism, endorsement of egalitarian values, and social norms shifting in the direction of tolerance predict individual attitudes toward sexual minorities and LGBT rights issues. Results indicated that (1) there was a subset of authoritarians who endorsed egalitarian values, (2) authoritarians in general became more tolerant (i.e., held less negative attitudes) toward sexual minorities between 1992 and 2012, and (3) “egalitarian authoritarians” held more positive attitudes toward sexual minorities than other authoritarians. The findings contribute to contemporary theory and research on authoritarianism, which is moving from a monolithic view of authoritarianism to one in which culture and core values activate and shape manifestations of authoritarian tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-794
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • LGBQT rights
  • authoritarianism
  • egalitarianism
  • same-sex marriage
  • sexual minorities
  • sexual prejudice
  • social norms


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