See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract The current study compares the effects of traditional and modern anti-homosexual prejudice on evaluations of parenting practices of same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
It was predicted that participants who score higher in modern prejudice would rate the negative parenting behaviors of same-sex parents more negatively than similar behaviors in opposite-sex parents. It was also predicted that this modern prejudice effect would be most pronounced for male participants. Both hypotheses were supported. The aggressed are often left to sort out whether an aggression has actually occurred, what an appropriate response might be, and while weighing up the consequences of taking action or suppressing their frustration.
One aspect of these stories that we wish to further explore is the relationship between overt and subtle manifestations of anti-gay anti-lesbian prejudice.
Specifically, the current study examines how anti-homosexual prejudice affects the evaluations of the parenting practices of gay and lesbian parents as compared to heterosexual parents. Same-Sex Headed Households The number of same-sex headed households in the United States has grown steadily over the past 20 years.
Census puts the number of same-sex couples who are living together at , , same-sex married couple households and , same-sex unmarried couple households. According to the U. Census approximately , households with children were headed by same-sex couples Paige, As the number of same-sex couples and, as a result, same-sex parenting overall has increased, attitudes toward same-sex parenting have improved.
From to , public condemnation of same-sex parenting in the U. To complicate matters more, Gates found that the percentage of same-sex couples raising children was higher in more conservative parts of the country. This complex array of factors impacting attitudes toward same-sex parents have resulted in a confusing landscape of limitations and prohibitions, as well as protections and anti-discrimination laws related to same-sex parenting.
Since the s, questions about same-sex parenting have been included in many of the measures of anti-homosexual prejudice e. However, these measures primarily have assessed approval or disapproval, and have not included evaluations of actual parenting behaviors or skills c. Only recently have researchers begun focusing on how anti-homosexual attitudes might affect evaluations of the quality of same-sex parenting. Meanwhile, another body of literature has focused on dispelling the myths about the negative effects of same-sex parenting on children Patterson, In a special issue of Journal of GLBT Family Studies focusing on the future directions of same-sex parenting research, Morse, McLaren, and McLachlan used vignettes to explore attitudes toward same-sex parenting among Australian heterosexuals.
The vignettes used described a family situation in which the sexual orientation of the parents varied. The researchers found that overall participants believed that, compared to heterosexual parents, gay and lesbian parents were less emotionally stable, responsible, competent, sensitive, and nurturing parents.
In the same volume, Massey reported similar results among U. In this study participants responded to a vignette describing a scene at a restaurant in which a 4-year-old boy misbehaved and one of his two parents intervenes. The sexual orientation of the parents and the gender of the intervening parent were randomly assigned and participants were asked to evaluate the parenting skills of the intervening parent.
Higher levels of traditional heterosexism predicted more negative evaluations of gay and lesbian parents. In addition, modern anti-homosexual prejudice Massey, , measured as the denial of the existence of anti-gay anti-lesbian discrimination, predicted more negative evaluations. Pearson, Dovidio, and Gaertner have explained that these new forms of racism can be seen in white people who express egalitarian views and who actually regard themselves as not being prejudiced.
However, in ambiguous situations, where negative attitudes can be attributed to a non-prejudiced cause, these same people were more likely to discriminate. Massey introduced a multidimensional measure that included a modern anti-homosexual prejudice scale.
In addition, modern anti-gay anti-lesbian prejudice was found to be a stronger predictor of negative evaluations of same-sex parenting than was traditional heterosexism Massey, Current Study The current study aimed to explore the impact of modern prejudice on evaluations of same-sex parents. In ambiguous situations, or situations in which an alternative explanation for negative judgment can be found, people will express their prejudice.
Hypothesis 1 Past research on anti-homosexual prejudice has suggested that gay and lesbian parents will be evaluated more negatively than heterosexual parents Massey, This difference was not expected for those with lower levels of traditional anti-homosexual prejudice.
Hypothesis 2 Although overt, traditional, anti-homosexual prejudice may be declining, it has been demonstrated that it is not disappearing altogether, and is instead becoming more subtle, manifesting in situations where it can be attributed to a non-prejudiced cause.
The second hypothesis, therefore, was that modern anti-homosexual prejudice will moderate the evaluation of the parenting practices of same-sex parents relative to opposite sex parents, but only in negative parenting situations, where doing so would not suggest overtly anti-gay anti-lesbian attitudes. When evaluating identical negative parenting behaviors, the behaviors of same-sex parents will be viewed as more negative than those of opposite-sex parents.
This gender difference also has been found in modern forms of anti-homosexual prejudice Massey, Our third hypothesis, therefore, was that participant gender will interact with modern anti-homosexual prejudice and its effect on evaluations of negative parenting behaviors. Male participants who are high in modern anti-homosexual prejudice are expected to evaluate the negative parenting behaviors of same-sex couples more negatively than similar behaviors in opposite-sex couples.
Methods Participants Participants were undergraduate students attending a mid-sized state university in northeastern United States. Participants were recruited through the Department of Psychology human subject pool, as well as other introductory survey courses. Participants received course credit for their participation.
Cases with incomplete or missing data were removed from the current sample. Four hundred thirty-six participants completed the online survey Participants identified as White Questionnaire The questionnaire was administered electronically via Qualtrics www. Potential participants were notified that the study was completely anonymous and that they could skip any question s they did not wish to answer. To protect potential participants and maintain complete anonymity, no identifying information was collected.
All aspects of the current study were approved by a university institutional review board. The first, traditional heterosexism was adapted from Herek This measure includes items such as: Parenting vignettes Each participant was presented with a vignette see Appendix A. Participants were asked to read the vignette, and then evaluate the quality of parenting. The presentation of vignettes was randomized to prevent any survey ordering effects. Of the 4 vignettes in each category, the sex of the adult parents in the vignette was randomized.
In the case of opposite-sex parents Steve and Beth , the role of active parent was varied. This results in a total of 8 vignettes created, with 4 vignette types for each of the 2 thematic story lines positive context or negative context: Two vignettes were created, one illustrating a positive parenting situation and the other a negative parenting situation see Appendix A. The positive parenting vignette was adapted from an earlier study by Massey In the positive vignette, a family of two adults and a child are eating at a restaurant.
During the meal the child gets upset and one of the parents responds by calmly engaging with the child. The child eventually calms down and continues eating.
An additional, negative, parenting vignette was created for this study. In the negative vignette, a similar situation is described - two parents and a child are eating at a restaurant. The child gets upset and one of the parents responds.
In this negative scenario, however, the parent who engages with the child gets frustrated and eventually angrily strikes the child on the hand.
The scene resolves similarly to the positive vignette with the child eventually calming down and eating. In both the positive and negative scenarios, the gender of the active parent who interacts with the child and the sexual orientation of the couple are varied while the rest of the story remains constant. Parenting evaluation questions Participants completed a panel of questions adapted from Massey, evaluating the quality of parenting demonstrated in the vignettes: The name of the actor in the question matched the name used in the randomized vignette.
As shown in Table 1 , random assignment and missing data correction resulted in between 50