A study published in April's issue of Journal of Personality and Psychology examines homophobia as a way to express repressed same-sex attraction.
(Image Credit: Shutterstock ) BY JISELLE MACALAGUIN ANCHOR CARISSA LOETHEN A new study suggests — homophobia might be caused by the suppression of gay feelings. Participants with homophobic attitudes suppressed their same-sex attraction, according to the study, in part, because of things like a strict upbringing by their parents. Progressive news site The Raw Story explains . “Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves.” The study surveyed 160 college students from Germany and the U.S. who were asked to rate physical attractiveness in same-sex photos. On YouTube, University of Rochester project researcher Richard Ryan explains — asking participants about sexual orientation is just one way to measure their attraction. “But to get into an unconscious sexual attraction, we use a different kind of task. We use a reaction time measure, a split task where you have to classify homosexual, heterosexual words.” Participants were also asked to complete questionnaires assessing their level of hostility toward homosexuality. The International Business Times reports. “They were also asked to agree or disagree on statements like, ‘I felt controlled and pressured in certain ways,’ and ‘I felt free to be who I am,’ to measure how democratic or authoritarian their parents were.” But some aren’t buying into the research. Psychiatrist T. Byram Karasu of Montefiore Medical Center in New York is skeptical. USA Today reports. “The suggestion that parents play a role in homophobia fails to address the importance of ‘identifying with the authoritarian parent’ and then taking that oppression ‘and projecting it outward. The study skips the self-oppression part,’ he says.” But researchers behind the study say it serves as another explanation in trying to understand the roots of bullying and hate crimes toward homosexuals. The study appears in the April issue of Journal of Personality and Psychology.