Does mortality salience play a role in homophobia?
DisciplinePsychology : Experimental
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Mortality salience (MS) occurs when a person experiences greater access to thoughts of his/her own eventual death causing fear; it is said that worldview defence structures are activated in an attempt to alleviate this fear. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of mortality salience and viewing one of three sets of images (control, romantic or erotic gay imagery), on levels of homophobia. Eighty-nine male Lakehead University students were randomly assigned to one of six conditions (a 2 X 3 factorial design) and completed a questionnaire package. Neither M S nor image type had significant effects on homophobia scores. However, the MS manipulation also failed to affect the manipulation check (word completion task). While the gay images did not affect homophobia, they elicited strong negative emotional responses, particularly the erotic images, and the responses were strongly correlated with levels of homophobia. Also, religious fundamentalism and need for cognition were found to have significant independent relationships to homophobia.