Fear of Male Homosexuality

Stephanie Shields, Robert E. Harriman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Males with high negative attitudes toward male homosexuality are often referred to in research as homophobic, yet it is unknown whether high homo-negative males actually exhibit physiological responses characteristics of phobic. In a series of studies, heart rate was monitored in males with high or low negative attitudes toward male homosexuality as they viewed slides of landscapes and slides depicting explicit sexual activity. If high homo-negativity is equivalent to homophobia, high homo-negative males should exhibit heart rate acceleration to slides of male-male sexual activity, but like low homo-negative males, deceleration to all other slides types. Significant group effects were obtained only in the pilot study. Examination of individual responses patterns in the pilot study and the two subsequent studies showed that high homo-negative attitudes were necessary but not sufficient for heart rate acceleration to male-male slides. Results confirm the existence of the phobic type of heart rate acceleratory pattern among some, but not all, high homo-negative males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-67
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • Education
  • Social Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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