Proximal and Distal Predictors of Homophobia: Framing the Multivariate Roots of Outgroup Rejection

Christopher R. Agnew, Vaida D. Thompson, Valerie A. Smith, Richard H. Gramzow, David P. Currey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A proximal‐distal theoretical framework was developed to examine the multivariate roots of homophobia. Using data from a sample of 288 undergraduates who had participated in a computer‐assisted panel study over a three‐year period, the effects on homophobia of distal and proximal family factors (e. g., parental education and family environment), distal and proximal individual factors (e. g., personality constructs and current beliefs), and proximal individual‐situational factors (e. g., acquaintance with homosexuals) were tested in regression analyses. Both analyses employing sets of variables varying in proximity to the homophobic attitude and hierarchical regression employing variables contributing significantly in each set supported the proposed framework. All sets predicted significantly when regressed separately on homophobia; the sets containing the distal factors contributed most weakly, and the sets containing the proximal factors contributed most strongly. In hierarchical regression analysis, this pattern maintained such that the incremental increase in r2 decreased with the addition of each more distal set, with the most distal factors failing to contribute significantly to the prediction. The importance of study findings for attitude change efforts is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2013-2042
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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