The relationship between actual societal reaction (SR) and putative societal reaction (PSR) to homosexuality was investigated in two cultures, Sweden and Australia, which were similar with regard to socioeconomic factors but dissimilar with regard to attitudes toward homosexuality. It was predicted that there would be no correlation between SR and PSR, that there would be differences between the two countries on PSR but not SR, and that these dimensions of societal reaction would be confirmed by factor analysis. One hundred seventy-six Swedish and 163 Australian homosexual males were administered scales measuring the actual or expected reaction to individuals or classes of individuals. They also responded to questionnaire items measuring acceptance of their homosexuality. Results indicated that there was a different direction of relationship between SR and PSR for each country and that there were significant differences between the two cultures on PSR but not SR, indicating that PSR is probably the critical variable measuring differences in adjustment as a result of societal pressures. PSR was also related to several factors measuring psychological adjustment. The findings have implications with regard to mechanisms underlying societal reaction in homosexual men and their influence on psychological adjustment and the factorial basis of societal reaction and its measurement.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Michael W. Ross, PhD, is Senior Demonstrator in Psychiatry at the Flinders University of South Australia Medical School, Bedford Park, South Australia. This research formed part of a doctoral dissertation at the Universities of Melbourne and Stockholm and was supported by a grant from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Melbourne.
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