Same-sex touching behavior: The moderating role of homophobic attitudes

Neal J. Roese, James M. Olson*, Marianne N. Borenstein, Angela Martin, Alison L. Shores

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Two studies examined the hypothesis that men's tendencies to possess more homophobic attitudes than women might underlie the repeated finding that men engage in less intimate same-sex interpersonal touch than women. In the first study, men scored higher on a homophobia attitudes scale and rated themselves as less comfortable with same-sex touch than did women. Moreover, homophobia and lack of comfort with same-sex touch were correlated both within men and across all subjects. In the second study, same-sex dyads of university students were observed covertly in a cafeteria, and frequency of touching was recorded. These subjects were then approached and asked to complete a homophobia attitudes scale. Men scored higher on the homophobia scale and touched their same-sex acquaintance less frequently than did women. Again, homophobia and same-sex touch correlated within both men and women and across all subjects. Taken together, the results offer support for a connection between homophobia and same-sex touch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-259
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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