The COVID-19 Pandemic, Authoritarianism and Rejection of Sexual Dissenters in Poland

Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka; Bierwiaczonek, Kinga; Baran, Tomasz; Keenan, Oliver and Hase, Adrian. 2021. The COVID-19 Pandemic, Authoritarianism and Rejection of Sexual Dissenters in Poland. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Diversity, 8(2), pp. 250-260. ISSN 2329-0382 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In Poland, gender hierarchy restricting women’s sexuality and hetero-normativity are rooted in traditional ‘family values’ supported by the teachings of the Polish Catholic Church and attached to Polish national identity. Dissenters to traditional norms regulating gender and sexual relations are rejected as threat to social order and national unity. Latent growth curve modeling performed on data from a three-wave longitudinal study indicated linear, inter-related increases in authoritarianism, a desire for national cohesion and rejection of sexual dissenters in the nationally representative sample of participants (N = 889) as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in Poland. Data were collected before and during the outbreak of the pandemic allowing us to link the changes in social attitudes to this naturally occurring threat. Cross-lagged panel analysis indicated that authoritarianism predicted desire for national cohesion, which resulted in rejection of dissenters. These results are in line with theoretical models of authoritarianism as a response to threat. They are also in line with findings linking death anxiety and the threat of infectious disease to increases in authoritarianism, traditional worldview defense, in-group cohesion and sexual restrictiveness.

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© 2020, American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the final, authoritative version of the article. Please do not copy or cite without authors' permission. The final article will be available, upon publication, via its DOI: 10.1037/sgd0000446


COVID-19 pandemic, authoritarianism, group cohesion, sexual norms and prejudice

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23 July 2020Accepted
3 September 2020Published Online
June 2021Published

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11 Sep 2020 09:09

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03 Aug 2021 00:22

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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