Rick Santorum had better start cooling it with all the homophobic banter. A new study out of University of Rochester is indicating what most people already know: homophobia may be a form of self-loathing. The recent study may not surprise many, but is actually ground-breaking in that it documents a direct link between persons who display extreme disdain for gaysÂ—like SantorumÂ—and an authoritarian home environment where homosexuality was forbidden.
The results of the study showed that a fear of homosexuality is "more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires." Essentially, it means that closeted gay individuals who were raised in extremely fundamental, authoritarian households have the greatest animosity toward gays and lesbians who are "out" because they've been pretty much brainwashed to believe that same sex attraction is wrong, an abomination, or against God's plan.
The paper's author, Dr. Richard Ryan, directed four separate studies, in which both German and U.S. college students participated. Studies included allowing subjects to browse photos of either same sex or opposite sex photos, which could indicate sexual preference. Researchers also had the participants complete questionnaires, in which they described their parental upbringing. Questions included such statements as: "I felt controlled and pressured in certain ways," and "My dad avoids gay men when possible."
Those who felt the most pressure at home to conform, and those who implicitly indicated an attraction to members of the same sex, felt a higher aversion and anger toward gays and lesbians. Of course, even Ryan admits the study isn't perfect, but it's certainly compelling enough to warrant further research to younger folks who are still living at home.
In a nutshell, science proves extreme homophobia is worse in individuals who fear coming out as homosexuals because of their overtly fundamental upbringing.
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.