Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Oswald, Debra L.

Second Advisor

Grych, John

Third Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen


Confrontation of prejudice is one method that has been demonstrated to reduce future discrimination on behalf of perpetrators and non-target witnesses in the future. The current study sought to 1) determine whether the gender of the perpetrator, target, or witness of heterosexist prejudice affects witness’s reactions to prejudice, including confrontation, 2) understand if other factors including participants’ attitudes about society, gender roles, and gay men and lesbian women, as well as their general level of assertiveness and previous allied behaviors were predictive of confrontation behavior and 3) examine participant’s satisfaction with their responses and anticipated future responses in relation to their behavioral responses and attitudes. A 10-condition (2x2x2, 2 controls) live experimental design was utilized to examine the participants’ responses to an overtly heterosexist comment. Specifically, participants were exposed to a person (man or woman) making heterosexist comments about either a gay man or lesbian woman and their verbal and nonverbal behavioral responses were recorded and coded. Participants also completed measures about their attitudes, personality, and previous allied behaviors. Results suggest about 25% of the sample verbally confronted the perpetrator and 25% verbally agreed. The gender of the target, non-target witness (participant), and especially the gender of the perpetrator appear to affect witnesses’ responses to prejudice, including confrontation. Additionally, both attitudinal variables, including attitudes toward gay men and personal support, and previous allied behaviors, including the LGASJC action subscale and personal relationships with gay and lesbian individuals, predicted confrontation; however, gender of the perpetrator still significantly and uniquely predicted confrontation even when accounting for these variables. Overall, individuals who confronted reported being more satisfied with their responses than those who did not and anticipated engaging in confrontation again in the future.