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Research presented March 4, 2016 at the Eastern Psychological Association conference In New York City. Research indicates that implicit attitudes of transphobia currently match explicit attitudes, possibly due to low social desirability. Predictors for transphobia are adherence to traditional gender roles, right wing authoritarianism, social dominance, and the belief that gender identity is a choice
RESEARCH POSTER PRESENTATION DESIGN © 2012
Little research has explored negative attitudes toward those
who identify as transgender (i.e., transphobia). Factors
that relate to social norms and personal beliefs are strong
predictors of negative explicit attitudes toward people who
are transgender. The current study explored whether
attitudes toward traditional gender roles, conventional
social expectations, and personal beliefs predict implicit
attitudes toward people who are transgender as well.
Eighty-five psychology 101 students completed a paper and pencil survey and a computer-based IAT (see below). The order of
presentation of the survey and computer task was counterbalanced. Following completion of the study, participants were given a
• Implicit Attitudes were measured using a transgender version of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT). It was administered
using procedures outlined by Greenwald and colleagues (Greenwald et al. 1998). In the current study, associations were
made between a gender dimension (i.e., transgender male vs. cisgender male) and an evaluative dimension (i.e., positive vs.
negative). The stimuli used in the current study were 10 adjectives that were positive in valence (e.g., wonderful), 10
adjectives that were negative in valence (e.g., terrible), 10 photographic images of men dressed in feminine make-up and
clothing (i.e., transgender), and 10 photographic images of men dressed in traditional masculine clothing (i.e., cisgender).
Reaction times were calculated using the scoring algorithm outlined by Greenwald and colleagues (2003). Greater positive
values reflect more negative implicit attitudes toward people who are transgender (M = 0.4, SD = 0.4).
• Explicit Attitudes were measured by the Transphobia Scale (Nagoshi et al., 2008; α = .88; 9 items; 7-point scale; e.g., I don’t
like it when someone is flirting with me and I can’t tell if they are a man or a woman). Items were averaged such that
greater positive values reflected greater transphobia (M = 3.2, SD = 1.2).
• Right-Wing Authoritarianism was measured by a modified version of the Zakrisson Right-Wing Authoritarianism Scale
(Zakrisson, 2005; α = .74; 15 items, 7-point scale; e.g., Our country needs a powerful leader, in order to prevent those who
are immoral from gaining political leverage). Items were averaged such that greater positive values reflected greater
adherence to the Right-Wing Authoritarian personality factor (M = 3.4, SD = 0.6).
• Social Dominance Orientation was measured by a modified version of the Pratto SDO Scale (Pratto et al, 2009; α = .87; 14
items; 7-point scale; e.g., Some groups of people are simply not the equals of others). Items were averaged such that
greater positive values reflected greater Social Dominance Orientation beliefs (M = 2.6, SD = 0.9).
• Traditional Gender Norms were measured by the Gender Roles Belief Scale (Kerr & Holden, 1996; α = .85; 19 items; 7-point
scale; e.g., The initiative in courtship should usually come from the man). Items were averaged such that greater positive
values reflected greater belief in traditional gender norms (M = 3.1, SD = 0.7).
• Views on Choice was measured by two items (7-point scale) developed for the current study (r = .50, p < .01, e.g., Being
transgender, born in the body of one sex but identifying as another, is an innate phenomenon based on biological factors).
Items were averaged such that greater positive values reflected greater belief in choice as a factor (M = 3.2, SD = 1.5).
• A series of bivariate correlations were conducted to explore the relationship between the explicit and implicit attitudes toward
people who are transgender and the predictor variables.
• A positive correlation was found between explicit attitudes toward people who are transgender and implicit attitudes (r=.48,
p<.01), such that as explicit attitudes became more negative, implicit attitudes became more negative as well.
• The current study replicates and extends previous work
conducted by Legregni et al. (2013). Specifically, these
data demonstrate that factors that predict explicit
negative attitudes toward people who are transgender
(transphobia) predict implicit negative attitudes as well.
The current research adds to previous research exploring
factors that perpetuate negative attitudes toward people
who are transgender (Norton & Herek, 2013; Tebbe &
• Future research should explore whether these social
expectations are rooted in religious and political values.
In addition, future research should explore whether the
relationship demonstrated in this research is moderated
by gender of the participant (Carroll, Güss, Hutchinson, &
Gauler, 2012) or of the target (Worthen, 2013).
• These data suggest that negative implicit feelings toward
those who are transgender may be rooted in the fact that
they violate established social expectations and roles. By
understanding this, we can develop methods to reduce
and erase transphobia from society.
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Carroll, L., Güss, D., Hutchinson, K. S., & Gauler, A. A. (2012). How do U.S. students
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Legregni, M., Frier, A., & Jellison, W.A. (2013). Transphobia in today’s society: An
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Nagoshi, J. L., Adams, K. A., Terrell, H. K., Hill, E. D., Brzuzy, S., & Nagoshi, C. T.
(2008). Gender Differences in Correlates of Homophobia and Transphobia. Sex Roles,
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• The term transgender is an umbrella term that refers to a
variety of individuals who do not conform to traditional
gender roles. The prejudice that those who are considered
transgender face is called transphobia and is similar to
homophobia (Hill & Willoughby, 2008). Transgender
individuals often experience discrimination and
harassment (e.g., Brewster, Velez, Mennicke, & Tebbe,
• Previous research (Legregni, Frier, & Jellison, 2013)
explored factors that have been shown to relate to
prejudice to determine whether these factors also predict
transphobia. These factors were:
• Right-Wing Authoritarianism: A personality factor that
includes conventionalism, authoritarian submission,
and authoritarian aggression.
• Social Dominance Orientation: The belief that one’s
peers or in-group is superior to other out-groups.
• Traditional Gender Roles: The traits and characteristics
that society associates with each sex.
• Gender Identity Choice: Views on whether or not an
individual believes that being transgender is either a
choice by the individual or innate.
• This previous study suggested that negative feelings
toward those who are transgender may be rooted in the
fact that they violate established social expectations and
• The current study explored whether these factors also
predict implicit attitudes toward people who are
• Implicit attitudes are automatic evaluations or
associations in memory that may influence our behavior
outside of our awareness (Fazio & Olsen, 2003),
compared to explicit attitudes which are under
conscious control (Fazio, 1990).
• In situations of low social desirability, implicit and
explicit attitudes should be similar (Jellison,
McConnell, & Gabriel, 2004).
• Therefore, we hypothesized that the relationship between
social factors and implicit transgender attitudes should be
similar to the relationship with explicit transgender
William A. Jellison, PhD, Stephanie Azzarello, Stephany Vargas, and Siobhan Couto
Transphobia in Today’s Society: Implicit Attitudes and Personal Beliefs