Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


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

Rebecca Shearer


Coming out to parents is a significant milestone for lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) youth, and negative reactions can be detrimental to youth functioning. However, it is not yet clear what factors are related to parental rejection. This longitudinal study examines if parent homonegativity and religiosity predict parental reactions to youth disclosure of same-sex attractions, and if these reactions predict youth psychosocial maladjustment and spirituality. Participants consist of 173 youth (ages 14-24) and one parent to whom they have come out. Structural equation modeling is used to examine the hypothesis that parental homonegativity and religiosity predict more negative reactions to sexual orientation disclosure, and that more negative reactions predict poorer psychosocial functioning, less drug and alcohol use, and less spirituality in youth. The final model was found to fit the data well. The data generally indicated that homonegative parents were more rejecting and that youth experiencing more severe parent rejection had worse psychosocial outcomes. The implications for mental health professionals working with LGB youth and their families are discussed.


LGBTQ; parent rejection; religiosity; homonegativity; coming out; mental health