Disgust sensitivity relates to attitudes toward gay men and lesbian women across 31 nations

Florian Van Leeuwen*, Yoel Inbar, Michael Bang Petersen, Lene Aarøe, Pat Barclay, Fiona Kate Barlow, Mícheál De Barra, D. Vaughn Becker, Leah Borovoi, Jongan Choi, Nathan S. Consedine, Jane Rebecca Conway, Paul Conway, Vera Cubela Adoric, Dilara Ekin Demirci, Ana María Fernández, Diogo Conque Seco Ferreira, Keiko Ishii, Ivana Jakšić, Inga JonaityteDavid M. G. Lewis, Norman P. Li, Jason C. Mcintyre, Sumitava Mukherjee, Justin H. Park, Boguslaw Pawlowski, David Pizarro, Pavol Prokop, Gerasimos Prodromitis, Markus J. Rantala, Lisa M. Reynolds, Bonifacio Sandin, Bariş Sevi, Narayanan Srinivasan, Shruti Tewari, Jose C. Yong, Iris Žeželj, Joshua M. Tybur

*Corresponding author for this work

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Previous work has reported a relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice toward various social groups, including gay men and lesbian women. It is currently unknown whether this association is present across cultures, or specific to North America. Analyses of survey data from adult heterosexuals (N = 11,200) from 31 countries showed a small relation between pathogen disgust sensitivity (an individual-difference measure of pathogen-avoidance motivations) and measures of antigay attitudes. Analyses also showed that pathogen disgust sensitivity relates not only to antipathy toward gay men and lesbians, but also to negativity toward other groups, in particular those associated with violations of traditional sexual norms (e.g., prostitutes). These results suggest that the association between pathogen-avoidance motivations and antigay attitudes is relatively stable across cultures and is a manifestation of a more general relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice towards groups associated with sexual norm violations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGroup Processes Intergroup Relations
Early online date26 Mar 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 26 Mar 2022


  • disgust sensitivity
  • emotion
  • pathogens
  • prejudice
  • sex


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