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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01229

The Association between Disgust Sensitivity and Negative Attitudes toward Homosexuality: The Mediating Role of Moral Foundations

 Ruile Wang1*,  Qi Yang2, Peng Huang3* and  Liyang Sai4
  • 1Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College, China
  • 2Department of Psychology, School of Humanities, Tongji University, China
  • 3Department of Medical Psychology, Air Force Medical University, China
  • 4Department of Psychology, College of Education , Hangzhou Normal University, China

Previous studies have found that “disgust-sensitive” individuals have negative attitudes toward gay and lesbian people, but the underlying mechanisms for such attitudes remain unclear. Based on moral foundations theory, the current paper assumes that the relationship between disgust sensitivity and attitudes toward homosexuality are mediated by moral foundations. In order to test this assumption, the current authors examined the questionnaire answers from a total of 452 Chinese undergraduates who participated in this study. The results showed that disgust sensitivity was positively correlated with negative attitudes toward homosexuality, and positively correlated with moral concerns in five domains (care, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity). Authority and sanctity were both associated with attitudes toward homosexuality, while only sanctity mediated the relationship between disgust sensitivity and attitudes toward homosexuality. Overall, the results suggest that considering moral foundations (especially sanctity) may lend more insight to the associations between disgust sensitivity and negative attitudes toward gay and lesbian people.

Keywords: disgust sensitivity, Attitudes toward homosexuality, moral foundations, sanctity, authority

Received: 14 Jan 2019; Accepted: 09 May 2019.

Edited by:

Jan Van Den Stock, KU Leuven, Belgium

Reviewed by:

Philip Powell, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Florian Van Leeuwen, Department of Social Psychology, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, Netherlands  

Copyright: © 2019 Wang, Yang, Huang and Sai. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Mr. Ruile Wang, Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College, Xiamen, China, rlwang@xujc.com
PhD. Peng Huang, Department of Medical Psychology, Air Force Medical University, Xi'an, China, huangpeng@fmmu.edu.cn