Scrutinizing homophobia: A model of perception of homosexuals in Russia
We aimed to develop and validate a model of associations of perceived threat of homosexuals with lay beliefs about causes of homosexuality, group entitativity of homosexuals, approval of social action strategies targeting homosexuals, and support for their rights using original Russian-language measures. We tested the model in two samples of social network users (n = 1,007) and student respondents (n = 292) using structural equation modeling and path analysis. Attribution of homosexuality to social causes was a positive predictor of perceived threat of homosexuals, whereas biological causes showed an inverse effect. Perceived threat predicted approval of discriminatory strategies targeting homosexuals and lack of support for their rights and fully mediated the effects of causal beliefs on these variables. Group entitativity of homosexuals was a positive predictor of perceived threat and a significant moderator of its effects on support for punishment and medical treatment of homosexuals. We discuss the findings with reference to the Russian social context.