Religious Affiliation and Attitudes Towards Gay Men: On the Mediating Role of Masculinity Threat

Gerhard Reese*, Melanie C. Steffens, Kai J. Jonas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previous research suggests that people from some religious backgrounds hold more negative attitudes towards gay men than others do. The current research focuses on psychological variables as an alternative explanation to religious affiliation, testing whether masculinity beliefs regarding gay men and their perceived threat to one's masculinity can explain such between-group differences in negative attitudes. With a sample of 155 male heterosexual university students (Muslims and Christians in Germany), we found that Muslims held more negative attitudes towards gay men than Christians did. Yet, this relation was partially mediated by beliefs about the masculinity of gay men and the experience of masculinity threat imposed by gay men, substantially reducing the effect of religious affiliation on antigay attitudes. In sum, similar psychological processes explained antigay attitudes of both Muslims and Christians. Copyright (C) 2013 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-355
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • religious affiliation
  • masculinity threat
  • antigay attitudes

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