Could Homophobia Be a Product of Mental Illness?


In early June 2015, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states, mandating that same-sex marriage bands on a state-to-state basis were unconstitutional.

And now, researchers in Italy positing that those against gay marriage aren’t only at odds with the law — they might also be suffering from a form of mental illness.

According to, a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that there’s a strong correlation between psychosis — a common mental disorder — and homophobia.

For the study, researchers at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy looked at various mental disorders such as depression, neurosis, and poorly developed defense mechanisms, and simultaneously explored the possibility of homophobia being another possible kind of mental illness.

In order to do so, the researchers gave 520 college students between ages 18 and 30 evaluation tests. Individuals whose scores reflected a high incidence of aggressiveness and hostile feelings (i.e., psychotic behavior) were also more likely to be homophobic, and as the study reports, “demonstrating that pathologic personality traits are involved in homophobic attitudes.”

For those who were depressed, however, incidence of homophobia seems to be lower.

It is important to note that those who were more homophobic didn’t have official diagnoses of psychosis; rather, those who exhibited psychotic traits were more likely to be homophobic.

Although more research needs to be done, these findings are especially pertinent in the wake of the many naysayers of gay marriage in the United States. Mental illness is already a $113 billion per year industry within the U.S.

Does this mean that there will one day be a cure for homophobia?

While only time will tell, it’s remarkable to note how greatly the field of mental illness has shifted their perception of homosexuality since the early 20th century. After all, homosexuality was only taken out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.

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