Disgust sensitivity relates to attitudes toward gay men and lesbian women across 31 nations

Florian van Leeuwen*, Yoel Inbar, Michael Bang Petersen, Lene Aarøe, Pat Barclay, Fiona Kate Barlow, Mícheál de Barra, D. Vaughn Becker, Leah Borovoi, Jongan Choi, Nathan S. Consedine, Jane Rebecca Conway, Paul Conway, Vera Cubela Adoric, Ekin Demirci, Ana María Fernández, Diogo Conque Seco Ferreira, Keiko Ishii, Ivana Jakšić, Tingting JiInga Jonaityte, David M.G. Lewis, Norman P. Li, Jason C. McIntyre, Sumitava Mukherjee, Justin H. Park, Boguslaw Pawlowski, David Pizarro, Pavol Prokop, Gerasimos Prodromitis, Markus J. Rantala, Lisa M. Reynolds, Bonifacio Sandin, Barış Sevi, Narayanan Srinivasan, Shruti Tewari, Jose C. Yong, Iris Žeželj, Joshua M. Tybur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Previous work has reported a relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice toward various social groups, including gay men and lesbian women. It is currently unknown whether this association is present across cultures, or specific to North America. Analyses of survey data from adult heterosexuals (N = 11,200) from 31 countries showed a small relation between pathogen disgust sensitivity (an individual-difference measure of pathogen-avoidance motivations) and measures of antigay attitudes. Analyses also showed that pathogen disgust sensitivity relates not only to antipathy toward gay men and lesbians, but also to negativity toward other groups, in particular those associated with violations of traditional sexual norms (e.g., prostitutes). These results suggest that the association between pathogen-avoidance motivations and antigay attitudes is relatively stable across cultures and is a manifestation of a more general relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice towards groups associated with sexual norm violations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-651
Number of pages23
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: J.R.C. acknowledges funding from the French National Research Agency (ANR) under Grant ANR-17-EURE-0010 (Investissements d’Avenir program). J.M.T. was supported by Horizon 2020 European Research Council Grant StG-2015 680002-HBIS.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • disgust sensitivity
  • emotion
  • pathogens
  • prejudice
  • sex


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