Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Prof. Jannini: The background is due to the large experience of the researcher of my team, Dr. Giacomo Ciocca, on homophobia, a largely diffuse phenomenon in various forms. Although many social and cultural factors predispose to homophobic attitude, we have hypothesized that some psychological aspects of personality were in association with homophobia. Therefore, we found that psychoticism, a dysfunctional trait of thought, immature defense mechanisms, i.e., primitive responses to anxiety states, and a fearful model of relationship with other due to an insecure attachment style, could be considered risk factors for homophobic attitude.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Prof. Jannini: Plenty of doctors are involved in the take home messages produced by our findings: pediatricians, endocrinologists, andrologists, gynecologists, andrologists, urologists and, obvioulsy, sexologists, psychiatrists and psychologists; An excessive aversion towards homosexuals is not only a cultural issue, but homophobic attitude could be considered also an important index of dysfunctional traits of personality.
Clinicians and health operators should take into consideration these psychological aspects associated to homophobia to safeguard homosexuals, and at the same time, prevent possible deviant behaviours in homophobia risk subjects. In other words, after a long term (frequently pre- or a-scientific) debate if homosexuality is a disease or not, now we have the final proof that homofobia for sure is.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Prof. Jannini: We recommend to implement further investigations about the link between psychological/intra-psychic factors and homophobia, above all in subjects recognized as homophobic by law and justice, with the aim to intervene from a psychological point of view, and prevent possible relapses in this deprecable deviant behaviour.
Ciocca, G., Tuziak, B., Limoncin, E., Mollaioli, D., Capuano, N., Martini, A., Carosa, E., Fisher, A. D., Maggi, M., Niolu, C., Siracusano, A., Lenzi, A. and Jannini, E. A. (2015), Psychoticism, Immature Defense Mechanisms and a Fearful Attachment Style are Associated with a Higher Homophobic Attitude. Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12975
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Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD (2015). Dysfunctional Personality Traits Linked to Homophobia