The Mediating Roles of Knowledge in Contact and Attitudes

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Much evidence has revealed that heterosexuals’ attitudes towards sexual minorities can be predicted by their amount of contact with sexual minority individuals. As contact with sexual minorities increases, attitudes toward these groups tend to become more positive. However, there has been little investigation into the possible mechanisms that explain this relationship. The aim of this study was to examine knowledge as a mediating factor in the relationship between contact and attitudes. The present study suggests that the strong correlation between contact and attitudes is, at least in part,in part due to increased knowledge. Data was gathered from a survey of 1580 participants who responded to the Study of Attitudes towards Sexual Minorities Survey. Mediation was tested using the bootstrap (Preacher & Hayes, 2008) method. Results showed that when accounting for knowledge, the relationship between contact and attitudes was significantly reduced for three groups (gay men, lesbians, bisexuals). These findings suggest that knowledge does indeed partially mediate the relationship between contact and attitudes. This information could be helpful for future interventions aimed at promoting positive attitudes towards sexual minorities.


Johnson City, TN

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