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J Homosex. 2012;59(1):4-17. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2012.638547.

Self-perceived origins of attitudes toward homosexuality.

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  • 1Department of Family Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0054, USA.


Undergraduate students (N = 417) at a large southern university responded to open-ended questions designed to assess self-perceived origins of attitudes toward homosexuality and circumstances that may prompt a shift in attitudes. Inductively coded responses pointed to a positive correlation between attitudes toward homosexuality and experience interacting with gay men or lesbians; this is discussed in the context of Allport's (1954 ) contact hypothesis and Herek's (1984 , 1986 ) theory of functional attitudes. Implications are discussed for education and intervention efforts aimed at facilitating understanding and tolerance of gay men and lesbians.

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