The personality variable openness to experience as it relates to homophobia

Jenifer M. Cullen, Lester W. Wright, Michael Alessandri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The present study investigated personality and demographic variables of homophobic and non-homophobic individuals. Variables explored included the personality characteristics Neuroticism, Extroversion, and Openness to Experience. The following demographic variables were also explored: gender role beliefs, gender, and personal contact. Participants included 123 students from a large Western university, enrolled in introductory courses in psychology or sociology. Participants completed a questionnaire packet containing a demographic inquiry and three psychological measures-the NEO Personality Inventory, the Assessment of Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gay Men, and the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Results revealed the variable contact as the most critical predictor of homophobia, followed by gender, and the personality variable Openness to Experience. Furthermore, those who had not had previous contact with a homosexual individual and men were significantly more homophobic. No significant differences were found among gender roles in relation to self-reported indices of homophobia. The results provide attitudinal and behavioral differences that differentiate individuals who are intolerant of homosexuality from those that are more accepting of alternative lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-134
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Contact
  • Gender
  • Gender roles
  • Homophobia
  • Personality correlates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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