Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1183–1194 | Cite as

Economic and Social Political Ideology and Homophobia: The Mediating Role of Binding and Individualizing Moral Foundations

  • Michael D. BarnettEmail author
  • Haluk C. M. Öz
  • Arthur D. MarsdenIII
Original Paper


Previous research has linked conservative political ideology with homophobia. Political ideology has also been linked to differences in moral decision-making, with research suggesting that conservatives and liberals may use different values in their moral decision-making processes. Moral foundations theory is a model of moral decision-making that proposes that individuals emphasize different domains in moral decision-making. Conservatives tend to emphasize binding foundations, while liberals tend to emphasize individualizing foundations. Utilizing large, ethnically diverse college samples, the purpose of these two cross-sectional studies (Study 1 N = 492; Study 2 N = 861) was to explore whether moral foundations mediate the relationship between political ideology and homophobia. These studies explored economic and social political ideology separately and utilized a two-factor model of moral foundations theory (individualizing and binding foundations). Results of both studies found that conservative economic and social political ideology was positively associated with homophobia. Study 1 found that both conservative economic and social political ideology had an indirect effect on homophobia through binding foundations. Study 2 found that both economic and social political ideology had an indirect effect on homophobia through both binding and individualizing foundations. Overall, the results were consistent with the notion that moral foundations may explain the relationship between political ideology and homophobia.


Moral foundations theory Political psychology Morality Homophobia Sexual orientation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Barnett
    • 1
    Email author
  • Haluk C. M. Öz
    • 1
  • Arthur D. MarsdenIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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