Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Carolyn Cutrona


This study aimed to examine different sources of prejudice and how these interact. Specifically, I examined feelings and impressions participants displayed in reaction to targets who varied by sex, sexual orientation, gender conformity, and socio-economic status. In addition to measuring participants' reactions to a described target, I gathered participant information including demographics, prejudice, social desirability, religiosity, masculinity, and femininity. Among the participants, higher levels of religiosity and prejudice were associated with less favorable ratings, whereas higher levels of reported femininity were associated with more favorable ratings. After controlling for level of parents' education and personal levels of prejudice, religiosity, social desirability, masculinity, and femininity, I found that participants showed preferences for individuals of higher SES over individuals of lower SES and for heterosexual individuals over gay and lesbian individuals. Levels of religiosity and prejudice moderated the effect of sexual orientation on ratings; heterosexual individuals were evaluated significantly more positively than gay or lesbian targets by highly-religious and highly-prejudiced participants. Additionally, I found an interaction between sex of the participant and sex of the described target in favorability ratings. Female targets rated by male participants received the most favorable ratings whereas male targets rated by male participants received the least favorable ratings. There was also an interaction between target sex and target gender conformity. Female targets who were gender conforming received the highest ratings, followed by male targets who were gender nonconforming and then by female targets who were gender nonconforming. Male targets who were gender conforming received the lowest ratings. However, the manipulation of gender conformity was problematic as participants appeared to have difficulty encoding information that indicated gender nonconformity. When analyses were repeated using only the data from participants who correctly responded to this manipulation, results showed that participants exhibited more favorable reactions to gender conforming individuals than to gender nonconforming individuals. Implications of the findings and future directions for research are discussed.


Copyright Owner

Michelle L. Cushman



File Format


File Size

134 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons