Threatened masculinity may play a role in homophobic responses in college men. In this study, homophobic or non-homophobic responses to a gay confederate were measured after a masculine threat or no threat manipulation. 49 college men participated in the study: 24 in the masculine threat condition and 25 in the no threat condition. Masculinity level was pre-determined in an initial phase one testing using the Male Role Norms Scale (MRNS). In the masculine threat condition, participants were given a test that was said to measure masculine knowledge and then received false negative feedback. The no threat condition involved a general knowledge test in which no feedback of any kind was given. After the manipulation, the gay confederate would come in wearing a gay pride tee shirt and carrying a backpack with gay pride paraphernalia on it. Homophobic behavior was measured by a professionalism questionnaire given to all participants. In this questionnaire, the participant was asked to rate the gay confederate ('experimenter') on a number of dimensions. We hypothesized that those who had been in the masculine threat condition and experienced physiological threat would rate the experimenter poorly, thus exhibiting a homophobic behavior, when compared to the no threat condition. Our results showed marginal significance for the threat manipulation causing physiological threat, F(l ,36) = 2.902, p< .097. Results did not, however, support our hypotheses regarding self-esteem mF(l ,29) = .077,p<.783, or masculinity level" mF(1,30) = .080,p<.780. An interaction effect for condition and physiological threat for the rating of the experimenter showed that those who were not threatened rated the experimenter worse than those who were threatened, but only in the masculine threat condition, F(1,36) = 11.251,p<.002. These results warrant further investigation to better understand the relationship between masculinity, self-esteem, and homophobia.
Longo '03, Julie M., "Masculinity and Homophobia: Does Masculine Threat Increase Homophobic Behavior?" (2003). Honors Projects. Paper 46.