• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Essentialist Beliefs and Social Distance towards Gay Men and Lesbian Women: A Latent Profile Analysis

Psychology and Sexuality. 2018. Vol. 9. No. 4. P. 288-304.
Agadullina E., Lovakov A., Malysheva N.

Psychological essentialism is the layperson’s belief that social categories are natural and entitative. Studies have shown that essentialist beliefs are strongly connected with different types of prejudice. Previous research into essentialist beliefs predominantly used a variable-centered approach to investigate the relationship between essentialist beliefs and prejudice. Extending this research, we used a person-centered approach to explore the relationship between different essentialist beliefs related to sexual orientation and gender (naturalness, homogeneity, discreteness and informativeness). The study involved 282 (sample 1) and 194 (sample 2) respondents from Russia with different sexual orientations. Using latent profile analysis, we identified three distinct essentialist belief profiles, which are the same for both our target groups, gay men and lesbian women. We examined the relationships between belonging to essentialist belief profiles and social distance towards gay men and lesbian women. We found individuals from various profiles differed in levels of gender identification and right-wing authoritarianism. Individuals with relatively low levels of naturalness beliefs and high levels of essentialist beliefs about the social and psychological differences between gender groups and between heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals demonstrated greater social distance towards gay men and lesbian women compared to respondents with lower essentialist beliefs in the differences between groups.