The Most Powerful Predictor of Attitudes toward Homosexuality in Korea: Familism versus Protestantism

Jihoo Lee1, Gahyun Youn2, *
1 Department of Crafts and Design, Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Korea
2 Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, 61186, Korea

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Creative Commons License
© 2023 Lee and Youn

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, 61186, Korea; E-mail:


Background and Objectives:

Many people have shown negative attitudes toward homosexuality (ATH) in Korea. A number of studies have been conducted to identify factors (e.g., spirituality, Protestantism, familism, etc.) influencing the attitudes. In this study, we reverified the effects of the factors identified from previous studies and determined what the most powerful predictor was for the attitudes by means of regression analyses.


We conducted online and offline surveys using a questionnaire which consists of 32 items on the attitudes, familism, religion, and so on in early 2021. The respondents were 720 Protestant or non-religious Koreans (152 non-religious men, 195 Protestant men, 159 non-religious women, and 214 Protestant women) aging from 19 to 64 years old.


Among the factors found in previous studies, we found gender, age, Protestantism, spirituality, familism, procreation, marriage, education experiences on gay issues or social interaction with gay people, sexism, and political ideology to be significant in determining the attitudes. Conducting the regression analyses, familism was the most powerful predictor in both Protestant and non-religious groups. Especially, familism was the greatest predictor for the male sample. For the female sample, instead, marriage and procreation as the practice of familism were more powerful than familism itself, and spirituality was also a powerful predictor.


Familism was the strongest predictor of the attitudes among the non-religious and religious samples and male sample, whereas spirituality was the strongest among the female sample. In addition, Protestantism itself was not a significant predictor for either the male or female sample. Thus, we concluded that the strongest factor influencing negative attitudes would be traditional familism values.

Keywords: Homosexuality, Homosexual attitudes, Familism, Protestantism, Spirituality, Sexism.