A new study has linked homophobia to psychoticism, immature defense mechanisms and fearful attachment styles.
The paper, published Tuesday (8 September) in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found a ‘remarkable association between dysfunctional aspects of personality and homophobic attitudes.’
Researchers at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy asked 551 university students aged 18-30 to complete several psychometric evaluations to assess their homophobia levels, psychopathologic symptoms, defense mechanisms and attachment styles.
The results showed that psychoticism represented an important risk factor for homophobia, ‘demonstrating that pathologic personality traits are involved in homophobic attitudes.’
Psychoticism is a personality pattern typified by aggressiveness and interpersonal hostility.
In contrast, depression and neurotic defense mechanisms were found to be reversely associated with homophobia.
The results also confirmed previously acquired knowledge that immature defense mechanisms and gender have significant impact homophobia – men are more homophobic than women.
‘After discussing for centuries if homosexuality is to be considered a disease, for the first time we demonstrated that the real disease to be cured is homophobia, associated with potentially severe psychopathologies,’ said the study’s lead author Emmanuale Jannini.