Relationship between homophobia and worldview with respect to attitudes and perceptions of women in sports

Date of Completion

January 1999


Psychology, Social|Women's Studies|Education, Educational Psychology|Recreation




Human prejudice and its effect on stigmatized populations has long been a topic of theoretical and empirical concern (Towne, 1979). It is only recently, that studies assessing prejudicial attitudes toward lesbians and gay men have been conducted. Griffin (1992) suggests, that authorities in sport may believe that denying the existence of lesbians in sport will “protect the image” of women's sport. It is not the “image” that should be of concern, but the reaction of others to that image. ^ The sample consisted of 250 female college student athletes from a large land grant institution in New England. Two instruments were used in this study the IHP and SAWV. The Index of Homophobia Survey (IHP) (Hudson & Ricketts, 1977) was designed to measure the way an individual feels about working or associating with homosexuals. It contains 25 items to which the research participants must respond on a scale from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree). The Scale to Assess World View (SAW) (Ibrahim & Kahn 1984, 1987) was designed to assess world views both within and across cultures. It is a 45-item scale, developed to assess beliefs, values, and assumptions regarding five factors or world views: Optimistic, Pessimistic, Traditional, and Here and Now. ^ The research questions focused on the relationship between world view and homophobia, the relationship among academic level and type of sport, and the relationship among academic level, type of sport that one participates in, and level of homophobia. Data was collected, analyzed, presented and discussed using frequency distributions, ANOVAS, MANOVAS, Univariate Analyses, and Scheffe Post Hoc tests on significant results. The results indicated two main findings. First, when considering team Sport versus Individual Sport it is evident that there is an impact on certain aspects of the lives of individual sport athletes. Clearly, team sport participants became less homophobic over time, this may be due to their exposure to other life events and teammates. Secondly, when addressing academic level the research indicates that Pessimistic and Here and Now world view are the primary world views of sophomore and junior athletes. These two groups are in a state of transition regarding their world view possibly due to their developmental stage. ^