Data_Sheet_1_Testing the Disgust-Based Mechanism of Homonegative Attitudes in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.PDF (186.66 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Testing the Disgust-Based Mechanism of Homonegative Attitudes in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.PDF

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posted on 17.05.2021, 04:18 by Aleksandra Szymkow, Natalia Frankowska, Katarzyna Galasinska

Negative attitudes and stigmatization can originate from the perception of a disease-related threat. Following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is often suggested that incidents of discriminatory behavior are the result of defense mechanisms aimed at avoiding pathogens. According to the behavioral immune system theory, people are motivated to distance themselves from individuals who show signs of infection, or who are only heuristically associated with a disease, primarily because of the disgust they evoke. In this paper we focus on negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians who are among social groups that have been persistently framed as “unclean.” In our correlational study (N = 500 heterosexual participants; Polish sample data collected during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Poland, in March/April 2020) we tested moderation models derived from the behavioral immune system theory. Specifically, we investigated whether perceived vulnerability to disease and perceived threat of contracting COVID-19 moderate the relation between disgust and homonegativity. We found that sexual disgust (but not pathogen nor moral disgust) predicted homonegative attitudes. This effect was stronger for participants expressing higher levels of perceived vulnerability to disease but was not dependent on the perception of the COVID-19 threat. The results reaffirm previous evidence indicating a pivotal role of disgust in disease-avoidance mechanisms. They also point to functional flexibility of the behavioral immune system by demonstrating the moderating role of perceived vulnerability to disease in shaping homonegative attitudes. Finally, they show that the threat of COVID-19 does not strengthen the relationship between disgust and homonegativity.

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