• Homophobia;
  • Psychologic Aspects;
  • Psychometry



Homophobic behavior and a negative attitude toward homosexuals are prevalent among the population. Despite this, few researches have investigated the psychologic aspects associated with homophobia, as psychopathologic symptoms, the defensive system, and attachment styles.


The aim of this study was to investigate the psychologic factors mentioned earlier and their correlation with homophobia.


Five hundred fifty-one university students recruited, aged 18–30, were asked to complete several psychometric evaluation.

Main Outcome Measures

In particular, Homophobia Scale (HS) was used to assess homophobia levels, the Symptoms Check List Revised (SCL-90-R) for the identification of psychopathologic symptoms, the Defence Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40) for the evaluation of defense mechanisms and the Relationship Questionnaire (RQ) for attachment styles.


After a regression analysis, we found a significant predictive value of psychoticism (β = 0.142; P = 0.04) and of immature defense mechanisms (β = 0.257; P < 0.0001) for homophobia, while neurotic defense mechanisms (β = −0.123; P = 0.02) and depressive symptoms (β = −0.152; P = 0.04) have an opposite role. Moreover, categorical constructs of the RQ revealed a significant difference between secure and fearful attachments styles in levels of homophobia (secure = 22.09 ± 17.22 vs. fearful = 31.07 ± 25.09; P < 0.05). Finally, a gender difference to HS scores and a significant influence of male sex was found (β = 0.213; P < 0.0001).


We demonstrated the involvement of psychoticism and immature defense mechanisms in homophobic attitudes, while a contrasting role is played by neurotic defense mechanisms and depressive symptoms. Moreover, secure attachment is an indicator of low levels of homophobia compared with the subjects demonstrating a fearful style of attachment. Hence, in the assessment of homophobia and in the relevant programs of prevention, it is necessary to consider the psychologic aspects described earlier. Ciocca G, Tuziak B, Limoncin E, Mollaioli D, Capuano N, Martini A, Carosa E, Fisher AD, Maggi M, Niolu C, Siracusano A, Lenzi A, Jannini EA. Psychoticism, immature defense mechanisms and a fearful attachment style are associated with a higher homophobic attitude. J Sex Med 2015;12:1953–1960.