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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Michael D. Barnett.

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Barnett, M.D., Öz, H.C.M. & Marsden, A.D. Economic and Social Political Ideology and Homophobia: The Mediating Role of Binding and Individualizing Moral Foundations. Arch Sex Behav 47, 1183–1194 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0989-2

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Keywords

  • Moral foundations theory
  • Political psychology
  • Morality
  • Homophobia
  • Sexual orientation