Volume 1

Negative Attitudes as a Function of Couples’ Age Disparities and Sexual Orientation

Elizabeth A. Gainer

Reactions to depictions of couples varying in sexual orientations and age disparities were examined. There was 160 participants from a small suburban state college. The participants read one of four marital union scenarios, rated the union acceptability, and completed various attitude scales. Results indicated that heterosexual and lesbian unions were viewed more negatively than gay male unions. Additionally, older heterosexual women involved with minors were viewed more negatively than older heterosexual men similarly involved. Traditional gender role attitudes were also associated with less acceptance of gay and lesbian unions and homophobia. Finally, men tend to be more homophobic than women. The finding that the gay unions were viewed more positively than heterosexual unions may reflect the expectation of deviant behavior from gay men and not from heterosexuals. Also clear was the double-standard regarding ages of acceptable partners for women and men.

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