Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 241–258 | Cite as

The Roles of Politics, Feminism, and Religion in Attitudes Toward LGBT Individuals: A Cross-Cultural Study of College Students in the USA, Italy, and Spain

  • Meredith G. F. Worthen
  • Vittorio Lingiardi
  • Chiara Caristo


While it is clear that there are existing prejudices directed toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people across the globe, very few studies have provided in-depth investigations of such attitudes from an international comparative perspective, and no cross-cultural studies to date have investigated attitudes toward bisexual and transgender individuals. Without understanding how correlates of attitudes toward LGBT individuals are both similar and different across multiple international locations, it is unclear how we can learn to counteract negative prejudices toward these groups. In the current study, we explore how measures of politics, feminism, and religion affect attitudes toward LGBT individuals using Worthen’s (2012) Attitudes Toward LGBT People Scales and data from four college student samples in Oklahoma, Texas, Italy, and Spain (N = 1311). Results suggest three trends: (1) negative attitudes toward LGBT individuals are more pervasive in Oklahoma than in any of the other university samples and are most positive among Spanish students; (2) negative attitudes toward LGBT individuals are related to the individual and multiplicative effects of political beliefs, feminism, and religiosity across all four samples; and (3) constructs related to attitudes toward gays/lesbians differ from those that relate to attitudes toward bisexual and transgender individuals. Such findings indicate that there are important similarities and differences in prejudices toward LGBT individuals and that attitudes toward bisexual and transgender individuals should be included in future international comparative research.


Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Prejudice Attitudes Politics Religion Church attendance Biblical literalism Feminism USA Italy Spain Texas Oklahoma 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Support for this research was supported by two sources of funding awarded to the first author from the University of Oklahoma, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Presidential International Travel Fellowship.

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 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meredith G. F. Worthen
    • 1
  • Vittorio Lingiardi
    • 2
  • Chiara Caristo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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