Construction and validation of a self-report measure of gay male heterophobia
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Research has shown that the risk of mental health problems among gay men is disproportionately high, and may be linked to decreased social connectedness. The phenomenon of gay male heterophobia (gay men’s fear and avoidance of heterosexual men), may partially contribute to this social disconnection. The theoretical basis for heterophobia stems from prior research on sexual stigma, minority stress, male gender role socialization, gay identity development, and trauma in gay men. The following study presents initial validation efforts towards a much-needed heterophobia scale. A mixed methodology, including focus groups, pilot tests, and online survey administration, was used to develop a 20-item self-report measure. Using exploratory factor analysis, three factors of heterophobia (disconnectedness, expected rejection, and unease/avoidance) were identified and described. Each of these factors was found to be valid and reliable within accepted ranges. Implications for future research and clinical practice, along with limitations, are provided.