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Concerns about Misidentification as Gay/Lesbian and Fear of Sexual Advances

Social contagion concerns, which are defined as heterosexuals’ fears about being misidentified as gay/lesbian, can lead to avoidant and hostile responses toward gay men/lesbians. I argue that fear of becoming the target of sexual advances from gay men or lesbians, if misidentified, contributes to contagion concerns. I further hypothesized that the overperception of sexual interest from gay/lesbian individuals leads to heightened fears of sexual advances by same-sex gay/lesbian individuals if misidentified. Consistent with these predictions, in two studies fear of sexual advances was identified as a strong, independent predictor of social contagion concerns (Study 1a & 1b). An additional study (Study 2) showed people who are higher in trait contagion concerns thought their gay/lesbian interaction partner displayed more sexual interest in them, compared to those lower in trait contagion concerns. However, contagion concerns did not influence the interpretation of sexual interest from a heterosexual interaction partner. Additionally, when paired with a gay/lesbian partner high trait contagion participants were more concerned about being misidentified as gay/lesbian, more anxious about the upcoming interaction, and more interested in avoiding the interaction. Finally, perceptions of sexual interest and concerns about sexual advances mediated the indirect effect of the partner sexual orientation X contagion concerns interaction on concerns about being misidentified during the interaction. High contagion participants with a gay/lesbian interaction partner perceived more sexual interest from their partner, which was associated with increased fear of sexual advances from their partner, which then predicted increased concerns about being misidentified as gay/lesbian during the interaction. / A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Philosophy. / Summer Semester 2017. / July 12, 2017. / Overperceptions, Prejudice/Stereotyping, Sexual Advances, Sexuality/Sexual Orientation, Social Contagion Concerns / Includes bibliographical references. / E. Ashby Plant, Professor Directing Dissertation; Kathryn Tillman, University Representative; James McNulty, Committee Member; Andrea Meltzer, Committee Member; Colleen Ganley, Committee Member.
ContributorsCascio, Jessica L. (authoraut), Plant, Ashby (professor directing dissertation), Tillman, Kathryn H. (university representative), McNulty, James (committee member), Meltzer, Andrea L. (committee member), Ganley, Colleen M. (committee member), Florida State University (degree granting institution), College of Arts and Sciences (degree granting college), Department of Psychology (degree granting departmentdgg)
PublisherFlorida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
LanguageEnglish, English
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeText, text, doctoral thesis
Format1 online resource (73 pages), computer, application/pdf

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