Homophobic people have psychological issuesBy Rashmi Kalia, UniversityHerald Reporter
A new research study reveals that a homophobic attitude is often reflective of higher levels of psychoticism and difficulties in coping mechanisms, live science reports.
The study was conducted by University students in Italy. It was published on September 8 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Lead researcher Emmanuele Jannini, an endocrinologist and medical sexologist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, said that people with strong homophobic views have psychological issues.
"The study is opening a new research avenue, where the real disease to study is homophobia," Jannini told Live Science.
Psychoticism is a trait that is characterized by feelings of anger, aggression and hostility towards other people.
In the new study, the researchers studied the responses of 551 Italian university students, 18 to 30 years in age, to a questionnaire on their levels of homophobia as well as their psychopathology, including levels of depression, anxiety and psychoticism. The students also answered questions on how they approached relationships and also on their coping strategies when they face unpleasant situations.
The study showed that the better the mental health of the person, the less likely he or she was to be homophobic. Also, people with immature defense mechanisms were more homophobic than people with mature defense mechanisms. However, people with depression or repression had lower level of homophobia.
The researchers plan to expand the study to students in Albania. They will also include in the study how the thought of not being "man enough" might have an impact on homophobic attitudes.
No earlier study on homophobia has ever looked at the mental health or psychopathology of homophobic people.