Publication Date

2013-07-29

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2013-07-29

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2012-11-05

First Committee Member

Kristin Lindahl

Second Committee Member

Neena Malik

Third Committee Member

Amy Weisman de Mamani

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Doss

Fifth Committee Member

Maria Llabre

Abstract

Parent support is believed to be important for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, particularly in the context of parental acceptance in response to youth disclosure of their sexual identity. While preliminary research has examined the importance of parental acceptance at the time of disclosure using retrospective reports, few studies have examined if and how parental acceptance changes over time since disclosure, and no study has assessed paired youth and parent perspectives on parental acceptance. Furthermore, there is a limited understanding of the ways that family interaction patterns influence parent reactions to youth disclosure. The present study aimed to understand parental acceptance via youth and parent perspectives, both at the initial time of disclosure and across time, and the link between family dynamics and parental acceptance. One hundred and sixty lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, ages 14-24, and 71 of their parents, were asked about perceived parental reactions in response to youth disclosure of their sexual minority status. Family interaction patterns were also assessed. A cohort-sequential latent growth model revealed no change in parental acceptance, via youth report, over time following disclosure. A confirmatory factor analysis indicated that high control and disorganized family interaction patterns were distinct forms of unbalanced family interaction patterns, and further analyses indicated that balanced dynamics were linked with increased parental acceptance, high control dynamics were inconsistently associated with less parental acceptance, and disorganized family interaction patterns were not related to parental acceptance. Results of this study provide important information about parental reactions to youth disclosure of LGB status, and identify family interaction patterns as an important influence of parental acceptance.

Keywords

parent support; parent acceptance; sexual minority; longitudinal; family dynamics

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