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Given the important role of contact in improving attitudes toward outgroup members, it is necessary to examine factors that reduce majority group members' likelihood of having contact with minority group members. Recent research illustrates the role of social contagion concerns (i.e., heterosexuals' concerns that contact with lesbians and gay men will result in being misidentified as homosexual) in heterosexuals' desire to avoid lesbians and gay men. One potential consequence for heterosexuals who are misidentified as homosexual is the potential loss of mating opportunities. The current work examined the role that mating motives play in social contagion concerns and heterosexuals' desires to avoid lesbians and gay men. Consistent with predictions, heterosexual participants whose mating goals were not being met reported greater contagion concerns than participants whose mating goals were being met (Study 1). Further, when mating motives were manipulated, heterosexual participants whose mating motives were activated reported a greater desire to avoid contact with a hypothetical gay/lesbian roommate than control participants (Study 2). This desire to avoid was especially pronounced in heterosexuals with high levels of general contagion concerns. The implications of these findings for inter-orientation contact are discussed.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
E. Ashby Plant, Professor Directing Thesis; Jon Maner, Committee Member; Colleen Kelley, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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