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Factor analysis with orthogonal rotation varimax was used to examine the underlying dimension of the lay beliefs examined in this study. Four factors were extracted from the causal beliefs and are shown in Table 1 , which accounted for In cases where an item loaded onto more than one factor, it was included within the factor for which it had the largest loading. The first factor Items 12, 10, 18, 21, 20, 7, 19, and 11 was labelled upbringing and personal factors , as they mainly related to issues surrounding the individual's upbringing e.

The second factor Items 3, 13, 5, 6, and 8 was labelled pregnancy and brain abnormalities —the factors related to the mother's pregnancy and disorders of the affected individual's brain. The third factor Items 2, 15, 1, and 14 was given the label beliefs about gender , and included items that were present in the affected individual's environment and which were often out of their control.

The fourth and final factor Items 16, 4, and 17 was called genetic and physiological , as it mainly related to issues regarding the individual's biological makeup. The range of means was 3. The results for cures of GID were analyzed separately; and, once again, factor analysis with orthogonal rotation varimax was used. Five factors emerged, which accounted for The first factor Items 5, 7, 13, 9, 11, 8, and 16 was labelled psychological assistance and personal factors , as it related to therapy and an individual changing aspects of his or her life.

Alternative therapies was the label added to the third factor, as it included hypnosis and an individual's luck as its items.

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Table 3 shows correlations between different causal and cure factors obtained from the factor analysis. Nine regressions were computed 1 for each factor score , but none were significant. This may, in part, reflect the way in which neuroscience has penetrated popular culture and lay understandings of behavioral issues. Participants agreed that upbringing may have an impact on causing GID, and factors related to this were ranked at 4 and 6. A preference for biomedical causes and cures may be due to the idea that there is no moral outcome from the preference of a biomedical model, although there may be considerable implications associated with this preference.

Although no prior studies of lay beliefs regarding GID appear to have been carried out prior to this study, a few such studies examined homosexuality. Furnham and Taylor conducted a study into lay beliefs of homosexuality and found that participants thought the most important aetiological factors were problems associated with early relationships, genetic differences , and fear of women.

With regards to cures, participants mostly believed in the efficacy of hormonal treatment, followed by psychotherapy, but far less in surgery. Therefore, the popular choices of genetic differences as a cause and hormonal treatment as a cure are similar to the findings of this study; therefore, it can be inferred that there is some link between lay beliefs of homosexuality and GID. Although this study covers the area of GID, the preference of participants for a biological basis of GID suggests a tendency toward essentialist beliefs.

Many researchers pointed out negatives associated with essentialist beliefs. In addition, Martin and Parker found that a greater endorsement of racial and gender stereotypes occurs if there is an essentialist belief regarding the biological basis of gender and race. The research of Haslam and Ernst regarding beliefs about sexual orientation and prejudice suggested that essentialism does not have negative connotations and that a belief in the immutability, biological basis, historical, and cross-cultural universalism leads to greater tolerance.

Herek and Capitanio also found an association between a belief in the biological basis of homosexuality and its uncontrollability, as it predicted a positive attitude toward gay and lesbian people.

Lay theories. Everyday understanding of problems in the social sciences

Whether these theories of essentialist beliefs can be fully generalized to GID is unknown, but in the presence of inadequate research, the findings of research into homosexuality beliefs can provide possible explanations and models for research. H2—demographic variables predicting lay beliefs regarding causes and cures of GID—was not confirmed, as demographic variables did not account for any of the variability of the results. It was thought likely that sexual disorders have moral overtones, which mean they are related to religious and political values.

However, surprisingly and inexplicably, religion was not related to beliefs about cause or cure. Also, a significant correlation was found between pregnancy and brain abnormalities and extreme medical and behavioral changes , along with one between genetic and physiological causes and medical treatments. This suggests that those participants who favored environmental factors as causes of GID also favored environmental factors as a cure, and likewise for those who favored genetic and physiological causes.

Lay Theories: Everyday Understanding of Problems in the Social Sciences

In this sense, people may favor complex, multi-causal theories of the origin of GID. These findings, in relation to correlates between causes and cures, were similar to those of Furnham and Taylor regarding lay beliefs of homosexuality. There is a great scope for future research into lay theories of GID, and this must be considered a pilot study with self-evident limitations.

Future studies could aim to use a wider range and larger number of participants. This was certainly far from a representative sample, which inevitably threatens the generalizability of these results and require replication. It would be interesting to look at those with GID themselves, their relatives, as well as those in sex therapy research.

Many subgroups could be studied to determine their knowledge and the precise determinants of accepting, positive, and tolerant versus rejecting, negative, and intolerant attitudes. The questionnaire could be adapted to contain all the various factors proposed to cause and cure GID from the research of various psychologists and psychiatrists. Also, studies into essentialist beliefs regarding GID could be carried out in a similar form to the study by Haslam and Levy Also, cross-cultural comparisons could be made, as Newman found that culture influenced the presentation and understanding of gender dysphoria and gender-aberrant behavior.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal of Homosexuality. J Homosex. Published online Sep Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. E-mail: ku.

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The moral rights of the named author s have been asserted. Abstract This study examined lay theories regarding gender identity disorder GID. Keywords: gender identity disorder, lay theories. Results During the 10 interviews, a variety of causes were suggested by participants, with the most popular being hormonal imbalances, suggested by seven of the participants. Questionnaire The questionnaire first provided a brief description of GID so that participants had a clinical description and definition of the disorder: Gender identity disorder is a conflict between a person's actual physical gender and the gender that person identifies himself or herself as.

Item M SD Rank mean 1 2 3 4 Bullying at school 4. Experiencing a disturbed family upbringing 3. Affected individual's negative self-image 3. Breakdown of relationship with same-sex parent 4. Traumatic experiences in life 3. Peer group rejection by children of same biological sex 4. Dislike of society gender stereotypes 4.

Mother experiencing an illness during pregnancy 4. Complications during pregnancy 5. Brain damage of affected individual 4.

Brain dysfunctioning of affected individual 3. Greater believed economic benefits of opposite sex 5. Family members wished for a child of the opposite sex 4. Environmental upbringing with members of the opposite sex 3. Genetic abnormalities e. Hormonal imbalances in affected individual 2. Affected individual is homosexual 3. Food allergies in affected individual 6.

Open in a separate window. Psychological therapy to accept their childhood 4. Therapy to explore their issues 3. Counselling 3. Adapting social roles of opposite sex to biological one 4. Providing a warm and loving environment 3.

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Change of diet in affected individual 5. Lobotomy brain surgery 5. Affected individual's institutionalization 5. Rewarding normal behavior can cure GID 5. Hypnosis 4. Affected individual's luck 5.

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No actual cure 3. A belief in God can help someone overcome GID 5. Hormone replacement 3. Gender reassignment surgery 3. Procedure The questionnaire was anonymously completed by participants in their own time. Psychological assistance and personal factors 2. Extreme medical and behavioral changes 3.

Alternative therapies 4. External factors 5. Medical treatments 1. Upbringing and personal factors. Beliefs about gender. Genetic and physiological. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: Author; Heritable factors influence sexual orientation in women. Archives of General Psychiatry. The prevalence of transsexualism in the Netherlands. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Psychiatric comorbidity of gender identity disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry. Gender identity disorder in DSM? Prevalence and demography of trans-sexualism in Belgium.

European Psychiatry. Gender identity in young people. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. Lay theories, everyday understanding of problems in the social science. Oxford, England: Pergamon; Lay theories of bipolar disorder. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. A comparison of lay-beliefs about autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. How to spot a psychopath. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Lay theories of schizophrenia. A cross-cultural study of attitudes to, and beliefs about male homosexuality. Public attitudes, lay theories and mental health literacy. In: L'Abate L. Mental illnesses: Understanding, prediction and control. Rijeka, Croatia: Intech; The lay concept of mental disorder; a cross-cultural study.

Transcultural Psychiatry. Essentialist beliefs about mental disorders. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Essentialist beliefs about homosexuality: Structure and implications for prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Attributional beliefs about the controllability of stigmatized traits: Antecedents or justifications of prejudice?

Lay theories , then, are the theories people use in their everyday lives. Such lay theories often reflect the core beliefs of people living in a given culture or environment. Researchers — namely cognitive, social, personality, and developmental psychologists — have identified different kinds of lay theories and their far-reaching impact on judgments and behaviors toward the self, individual others, and groups. Lay perceivers can rather easily report their lay theories, agreeing or disagreeing with simple, straightforward sentences reflecting those ideas e.

Yet people are generally unaware of the tremendous impact that their lay theories have on them and on others, such as guiding decisions on whom to ask out on a date, what career path to choose, whom to vote for for president, and whether to befriend or avoid members of certain groups. As one example, individuals who hold the lay theory that people cannot change their personality, morality, or intelligence e. Lay theories are readily used in everyday life in part because they are socially transmitted and shared but also because they are functional.

However, unlike scientific theories, lay theories need not be objective, testable, or true. Lay theories such as the Protestant work ethic can fulfill important values e. People may use lay theories as well to justify their attitudes and prevailing social norms. For example, the Protestant work ethic is an ingredient in racism toward African Americans at the hands of European Americans in the United States ; African Americans are sometimes seen as not conforming to the work ethic not working hard enough and thus deserving disadvantage.

Some lay theories may serve many cognitive, social, and psychological functions, and other lay theories may serve only one. What is more, some lay theories are more or less useful to certain members of a culture e.

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In summary, lay theories have far-reaching implications for understanding how people work.