A test of the maternal stress theory of human male homosexuality
- Cite this article as:
- Bailey, J.M., Willerman, L. & Parks, C. Arch Sex Behav (1991) 20: 277. doi:10.1007/BF01541847
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Both the neurohormonal theory of sexual orientation and previous research on humans and animals suggest that male homosexuality may arise from prenatal stress during the brain's sexual differentiation. Stress-proneness and retrospective reports of stress during pregnancy were obtained from mothers of male and female heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals. Each mother also rated pregnancy stress for a heterosexual sibling of the subject. For males, neither between-family nor within-family analyses revealed a maternal stress effect for either sexual orientation or childhood gender nonconformity. However, mothers of effeminate children reported more stress-proneness than other mothers. Male homosexuality nevertheless was strongly familial, suggesting a reconsideration of genetic and familial environmental mechanisms.