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

DOI: 10.1007/s13178-016-0244-y

Cite this article as:
Worthen, M.G.F., Lingiardi, V. & Caristo, C. Sex Res Soc Policy (2016). doi:10.1007/s13178-016-0244-y


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 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
University of Oklahoma

    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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