Women's Race-and Sex-Based Social Attitudes: An Individual Differences Perspective


  • Peter K. Jonason School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University
  • Ashley N. Lavertu Indian River Medical Center


attitudes, personality, individual differences, sexual orientation, discrimination


How do individual differences in personality and sexuality relate to social attitudes? We contend that personality traits and sexual orientation are descriptions of underlying biases (e.g., perceptual) that exert top-down influences into all of life's domains including social attitudes. The present study (N=200 women) examined individual differences in sex-based and race-based social attitudes as a function of the Big Five traits, the Dark Triad traits, and sexual orientation. We found that affiliative-based motivations in the form of agreeableness, openness, and narcissism predicted the desire and tendency to affiliate with other women. We also found fear-based (i.e., neuroticism) and entitlement-based (i.e., narcissism) traits were associated with efforts towards political action for gender equality. We found a "go-along" disposition (i.e., agreeableness and openness) was associated with greater endorsement of traditional gender roles. We replicated associations between the Big Five traits (i.e., openness and agreeableness) and race-based social attitudes. Uniquely, Machiavellianism was associated with more race-based social attitudes but with diminished endorsement of traditional gender roles. And last, we suggest that experienced discrimination among bisexual women may lead them to be less likely to hold both undesirable race-based and sex-based social attitudes.