The American Sociologist

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 68-76

First online:

The attitudes of American sociologists toward causal theories of male homosexuality

  • Michael J. Engle
  • , Joseph A. McFallsAffiliated withVillanova University
  • , Bernard J. GallagherAffiliated withVillanova University
  • , Kristine Curtis

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The origin of homosexuality has been the subject of systematic study in many disciplines during the previous century. In the social science literature, two general models concerning the etiology of homosexuality have emerged, the essentialist model and the constructionist model. This article reviews these two models and provides empirical data on their relative support. Support for each model has been gauged by assessing the opinions of sociologists. Data was obtained from a random sample of sociologists teaching in colleges and universities throughout the United States. The major finding is that the majority of sociologists now endorse the essentialist position.