A study has been launched into the prevalence of homophobia in sports in New Zealand, and how the country compares to the rest of the world.

Out on the Fields, is believed to be the first international study of its kind, and is wide-ranging, looking at how homophobia is expressed and how it impacts everyone – gay and straight.

The study is being conducted by Australia’s Victoria University’s Caroline Symons, who is a specialist providing analysis of the data collected.

She encouraged New Zealanders to take part in the survey, and said she hoped professional sporting bodies would pick up the findings of the study, and create policies to reflect its needs.

Dr Symons said stress and lowered performance are a result of homophobia, as people are forced to hide who they are.