In an attempt to account for the common finding that men engage in less same‐sex touch than women do, Derlega, Lewis, Harrison, Winstead, and Costanza (1989) proposed that because touch can be interpreted as sexual, same‐sex touch is curtailed as a function of one's level of homophobia. Floyd (in press) extended this argument into a model that predicts not only individuals’ own behavior, but also their reactions to behaviors they observe. The present experiment was designed to test this model within the realm of verbal expressions of affection. Two hundred twenty‐one adults read a transcript of a conversation between two men or two women in which one communicator said “I love you” to the other. Participants made evaluative judgments of the conversational behavior and provided attributions about the type of relationship the communicators have. Results indicate that homophobia negatively predicts evaluative assessments of the behavior and makes salient a romantic attribution for the communicators’ relationship, while making a platonic attribution less salient. Implications of the study for further research on the effects of homophobia on behavior are discussed.
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