New study suggests gender gap around homophobic bullying

Development and Psychometric Properties of the Homophobic Bullying Scale

From Educational and Psychological Measurement (EPM) 

This study found that when it comes to homophobic bullying, there could be a gender gap. While male victims are more likely to be bullied by male homophobic bullies, female victims are bullied by both males and females equally. Additionally, those surveyed for the research reported hearing a low number of verbal homophobic remarks towards gay men compared to other forms of non-verbal homophobic bullying.

Using a survey of 863 public high school students, the author obtained data from bullies of students who were perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), witnesses of homophobic bullying incidents, and the actual victims themselves. Ten percent of the students surveyed were classified as homophobic bullies because they reported engaging in bullying behaviour based on sexual prejudice at least once a week. 3.5% of students were considered victims of homophobic bullying because they were harassed by homophobic aggressors at least once a week.


The study aimed to develop the Homophobic Bullying Scale and to investigate its psychometric properties. The items of the Homophobic Bullying Scale were created to measure high school students’ bullying behaviors motivated by homophobia, including verbal bullying, relational bullying, physical bullying, property bullying, sexual harassment, and cyberbullying. Five scales were developed from viewpoints of bullies (toward supposed gay men and lesbians), victims, and witnesses (toward supposed gay men and lesbians). A sample of 863 students enrolled in Grades 9 to 13 in 10 Italian public high schools were involved in this study. The coefficients of internal consistency were greater than .80 for all the scales. Construct validity of its factor structure was demonstrated using confirmatory factor analysis. Discriminant validity was demonstrated by comparatively low correlations with homophobic attitudes and the Homophobic Content Agent Target scale. Results showed the existence of homophobic bullying in various forms other than the use of homophobic epithets. Future research should examine the experience of bullying behaviors motivated by homophobia in schools.

Read this research for free

Article details
Prati, G. (2012). Development and Psychometric Properties of the Homophobic Bullying Scale Educational and Psychological Measurement DOI: 10.1177/0013164412440169

This entry was posted in Education, Psychology, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.