A study appearing in the September issue of the Journal of Homosexuality suggests that negative ex-gay and antigay attitudes — not homosexual behavior or same-sex orientation — worsen mental health and sexual health.

Science Daily reported on Sept. 20:

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have published a study showing that the degree of internalized homonegativity (negative attitude towards homosexuality) among homosexual men is what predicts poor mental and sexual health — not the act of being homosexual.

Simon Rosser, Ph.D, is the study’s principal investigator and a researcher of the university’s School of Public Health.

“Given the debates in many religious denominations about homosexuality, and in society about homosexuals and civil rights, it’s also timely,” Rosser said. “In particular, the old advice to gay men to fight, deny, or minimize their homosexuality likely only increases depression, greater isolation, and poorer sexual health. In short, viewing homosexuality as a disorder is not only inaccurate, it may be harmful as well.”

This research, which is part of the HIV prevention program — funded by the Minnesota Department of Health — has also been shown to be effective in reducing unsafe sex.

The anti-life, religious-rightist LifeSiteNews last week distorted the results of a British study that came to the same conclusion. LSN falsely associated depression and self-destructive behavior with “a homosexual lifestyle” despite findings to the contrary, and cited the discredited work of antigay activists Paul and Kirk Cameron for additional support.

Meanwhile, a new paper in Science, Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits, finds that social conservatives may be more biologically predisposed to respond to fear and threats than the general population. Might these conservatives then assume, wrongly, that everyone else will (or should) react to fear and threats in a manner consistent with their own reaction?

ScienceBlogs provides detailed analysis of the paper. One take-home point:

For example, consider if the “conservative” psychology is typified by a heuristic & bias which orients toward conformity to current norms. In contrast, the “liberal” psychology has a more relaxed heuristic and is less biased toward current norms. That means naturally that liberal personality types would “random walk” out of the the central tendency of the population more often, so that you would see average differences between the two groups. But, that doesn’t define the distribution itself. What is conservative in 2008 might very well be rather liberal in 1950. For example, arguing against gay marriage but accepting the possibility of civil unions.

Visit Skipping to the Piccolo for pro-tolerant religious reaction to the Journal of Homosexuality study.