Does contact with lesbians and gays lead to friendlier attitudes? a two year longitudinal study


  • This paper was first presented at the 27th International Congress of Psychology, Stockholm, 23–28 July 2000.


Attitudes toward and contact with lesbian women and gay men were assessed through questionnaires in a 2-year follow-up study in a cohort of 511 Norwegian participants, 19 years of age at first data collection. A substantial proportion reported negative attitudes at baseline (between 39 and 63%) and two years later (between 32 and 59%), females being more positive than males. A majority reported having no contact with lesbian women or gay men either at 19 years of age (66–79%) or 2 years later (51–62%). Longitudinally, the measures were moderately stable (Pearson's r 0.43–0.73), and contact change was positively related to attitude change. Also, attitude change positively predicted contact change. The findings imply that efforts to reduce stigma associated with homosexuality are still needed among young people in Norway. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.