Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 461–469

Maternally rated childhood gender nonconformity in homosexuals and heterosexuals


  • J. Michael Bailey
    • Department of PsychologyNorthwestern University
  • Joseph S. Miller
    • Department of PsychologyNorthwestern University
  • Lee Willerman
    • University of Texas

DOI: 10.1007/BF01542559

Cite this article as:
Bailey, J.M., Miller, J.S. & Willerman, L. Arch Sex Behav (1993) 22: 461. doi:10.1007/BF01542559


Homosexual and heterosexual subjects provided self-ratings of childhood gender nonconformity. Additionally, their mother rated them on several adjectives describing childhood behavior, which included words related to gender nonconformity. Male homosexuals were remembered by their mothers as less masculine and more nonathletic. This finding did not appear to be due to a bias in mothers' memories. Though female homosexuals were recalled as more masculine than female heterosexuals, this appeared to reflect retrospective bias, as mothers who knew of their daughters' homosexuality were more likely to rate them as masculine. Both self-rated and maternally rated childhood gender nonconformity made independent contributions in predicting sexual orientation. Within the homosexual samples, maternal and self-ratings of subjects' childhood gender nonconformity failed to correlate significantly.

Key words

homosexualitygender nonconformitysexual orientation
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993