A Meta-Analysis of Attitudes toward Bisexuality

A Meta-Analytic Analysis of Attitudes toward Bisexuality – Katheryn Morrison, Briana Cook, Jenn Clark, Kailie Brown, Amy Pedersen, & Cory L. Pedersen

Research has found that bisexual individuals face high levels of discrimination from both the homosexual and heterosexual communities. Although similar, attitudes toward bisexuality have been suggested as distinct from attitudes toward homosexuality. Despite an emergence of research examining the existence of biphobia, to date there has been no systematic review of the biphobia literature. The current study expands our understanding of biphobia by presenting meta-analytic findings on attitudes toward bisexual individuals and was completed in an effort to determine overarching trends in attitudes toward bisexuality.

The current meta-analysis used 9 research studies published in academic journals from 1980 to 2014. Only quantitative articles were included in our analyses. The measured dependent variables included overall attitudes toward, tolerance (morality and acceptance of), and belief in the stability of (belief in existence, transience) bisexuality.  A random-effects meta-analysis model was used to calculate weighted and unweighted effect sizes and confidence interval estimates. Results indicated that gay individuals are less tolerant of bisexuals and believe bisexuality to be an unstable orientation compared to straight individuals. Further, males hold more negative attitudes toward bisexuals and bisexuality than did females; while females believed bisexuality to be a less stable orientation.  There were no significant differences in tolerance toward bisexuals between genders.

This study is critical given that negative attitudes toward bisexual individuals relate to lower overall health outcomes and psychological well-being within the bisexual community (Schick & Dodge, 2012). Bisexual individuals often face higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use than either their heterosexual or homosexual counterparts. The mental health issues faced within the bisexual community are strongly linked to the oppression these individuals face. Above all, a concrete understanding of the discrimination bisexuals experience provides a strong base for guiding the practice of clinicians and policy-makers.

Poster presented at the Western Psychological Association Conference, Las Vegas, 2015.