- Attitudes toward lesbians and gays among American and Dutch adolescents
- The Journal of Sex Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 52 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Attitudes toward lesbians and gays vary across national populations, and previous research has found relatively more accepting attitudes in the Netherlands as compared to the United States. In this study, we compared beliefs about and attitudes toward lesbians and gays in samples of Dutch and American heterosexual adolescents, utilizing survey data from 1,080 American adolescents (mean age = 15.86 years) attending two schools and from 1,391 Dutch adolescents (mean age = 16.27 years) attending eight schools. Findings indicated the Dutch participants were more tolerant of lesbians and gays, after adjusting for the gender, age, and racial/ethnic minority status of the participants. However, between-country differences were attenuated by accounting for the beliefs about lesbians and gays that participants used to justify their attitudes. American participants were more likely to justify their attitudes using beliefs related to social norms and religious opposition, while the Dutch participants were more likely to justify their attitudes using beliefs related to individual rights and the biological/genetic basis of homosexuality. The results suggest that the relative importance of particular beliefs about lesbians and gays to attitudes at the group level may be context dependent but also that certain beliefs are salient to attitudes across national contexts.
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