Psychoticism is a personality trait “typified by aggressiveness and interpersonal hostility” – and is believed to be linked to increased vulnerability to psychosis such as schizophrenia. [7 Thoughts That Are Bad for You].
Previous research has explored the subject of homophobia with some findings linking negative feelings toward gay people to same-sex desire of the person. However, some others oppose the idea suggesting that homophobic people are truly averse to same-sex attraction.
More than 500 students from the Italian University participated in the study, which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Unfortunately, the mental health or psychopathology of homophobic people has always been overlooked.
Researchers at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy asked 551 university students aged 18-30 to complete several psychometric evaluations to assess their homophobia levels, psychopathologic symptoms, defense mechanisms and attachment styles. The participants rated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements, such as: Gay people make me nervous; I think homosexual people should not work with children; I tease and make jokes about gay people; and It does not matter to me whether my friends are gay or straight, etc.to check their level of homophobia on a scale of five. Also, when interacting with others, they tended to develop “fearful-avoidant” attachment styles, showing reluctance to build closer relationships. Researchers note that “healthy” attachment refers to people who feel comfortable getting close to others, while insecurely attached people may avoid intimacy or become quickly clingy with trust issues.
They then had to answer questions related to their attachment style, the way that they approach relationships. Defense mechanisms among participants were categorized as healthy (“mature”) or unhealthy (“immature.) Immature defense mechanisms were marked by behavior like impulsive action, passive aggression, or denial of a problem”. He theorized that the “culture-induced disease” may have started from individuals who doesn’t feel enough as a man. The researcher also plans to explore links between emasculation and homophobia.
“If we suppose that subjects with a high level of psychoticism perceive external reality as a threat and project their anger-for example, against homosexual people-people with depressive traits could direct the anger mainly against themselves”, they stated.
The study also found that those who are more likely to experience depression are less likely to be homophobic.
For instance, in societies characterized by machismo (strong sense of masculine pride associated with a condescending attitude towards women), homophobia seems to be much more widespread than in other environments which foster gender equality.