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Exploring negative attitudes regarding bisexuality

The following research report is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements necessary to obtain the degree of Masters in Community-Based Counselling Psychology in the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2014. / Research focusing on sexual minority groups has historically focused almost exclusively on homosexuality, leaving a relative void in the body of work focusing on bisexuality. While prejudices towards homosexual minorities have been researched extensively, such research either excludes bisexuality, or incorporates it into homosexuality without considering differences between the concepts. This research paper looked to explore factors influencing negative attitudes regarding bisexuality, specifically incorporating familiar and less familiar research variables.
Tolerance of ambiguity and social conservatism are both factors with well-established ties to homophobia. While their conceptual link to biphobia would seem obvious, only a limited number of studies have been conducted to connect these factors to attitudes regarding bisexuality, and thus further research examining this trend is warranted.
In this study, an attempt was made to build upon the work of Hoang, Holloway, and Mendoza, (2011), who conducted a study examining the effect of bisexual identity congruence on attitudes regarding bisexuality. In addition to tolerance of ambiguity and social conservatism, bisexual identity congruence was also examined as a possible contributor towards attitudes regarding bisexuality. Conducting this examination in tandem with previously correlated values was hypothesized to provide an indication of the relative strength of the effect of bisexual identity congruence on attitudes regarding bisexuality.
A survey of 133 mixed heterosexual and non-heterosexual students was conducted, making use of instruments to measure attitudes regarding bisexuality, sexual orientation facets, tolerance of ambiguity and social conservatism. These results were then analysed statistically through correlation and multiple linear regression.
The findings of the study indicated a potential positive correlation between increased sexual identity incongruence and decreased biphobia, in contrast to the initially hypothesized opposite trend. Three specific areas of sexual identity congruence appeared to be most influential towards attitudes regarding bisexuality, namely incongruence between sexual identity and emotional preference, sexual behaviour and sexual fantasy.
Tolerance of ambiguity and social conservatism both demonstrated significant but weak correlations with aspects of attitudes regarding bisexuality, in line with similar studies linking the two to homophobia and biphobia. Social conservatism was also shown to be the strongest independent contributor towards attitudes regarding bisexuality, with tolerance of ambiguity ranking thereafter.
Beyond the original research questions, the data also seemed to demonstrate a tendency for people who have personal experiences with bisexuality to display less negative attitudes regarding bisexuality. Some indication of a racial difference in attitudes regarding bisexuality, as white students were shown to be statistically more likely to hold more positive attitudes towards bisexuality. / GR2017
Date January 2016
CreatorsEccles, Gregory David
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
FormatOnline resource (128 leaves), application/pdf

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