Gender Atypicality and Anxiety Response to Social Interaction Stress in Homosexual and Heterosexual Men Academic Article uri icon


  • Gender non-conforming behavior and a homosexual sexual orientation have both been linked to higher levels of anxiety. This study examined the independent and interactive effects of gender atypicality and sexual orientation on levels of state anxiety immediately following a stressful social interaction task among a sample of homosexual and heterosexual Israeli men (n = 36). Gender atypicality was measured via both self-report and observer ratings. State anxiety was measured via both self-report immediately subsequent to the stressful social interaction task and pre- to post task changes in salivary cortisol. Results showed that self-reported gender atypicality and heterosexual sexual orientation predicted higher levels of self-reported social interaction anxiety, but not changes in cortisol. There were no sexual orientation by gender behavior interactions and there were no significant effects for observer rated gender atypicality. These findings suggest that gender atypicality, not homosexuality, place individuals at risk for increased anxiety.

publication date

  • May 7, 2015