Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 99–112 | Cite as

Social Climate for Sexual Minorities Predicts Well-Being Among Heterosexual Offspring of Lesbian and Gay Parents

  • David J. Lick
  • Samantha L. Tornello
  • Rachel G. Riskind
  • Karen M. Schmidt
  • Charlotte J. Patterson


Social climate—specifically, the level of support for sexual minorities in a given locale—helps to explain well-being among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. No published reports have examined whether well-being also varies as a function of social climate for family members of LGB individuals. We present results from two studies (Study 1, n = 69; Study 2, n = 70) demonstrating that social climate predicts well-being among adults reared by LGB parents, regardless of their own sexual orientation. Across both studies, population characteristics (e.g., density of same-sex couples in an area) emerged as the strongest and most consistent predictors of well-being. Some variables assessing local politics (e.g., LGB hate crime policy) also predicted well-being, though these associations were less robust. Overall, findings suggest that the social environment for sexual minorities is an important correlate of psychological adjustment for many Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation.


Lesbian- and gay-parent families Social climate Social policy Minority stress 



This research was supported in part by a Harrison Foundation Grant, University of Virginia Dean’s Grant, and Reider-Otis Scholarship awarded to David J. Lick. Portions of these findings were presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the International Academy of Sex Researchers and the 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. We sincerely thank Anne “Bayly” Buck and Meredith Halliwell for their contributions.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Lick
    • 1
    • 2
  • Samantha L. Tornello
    • 1
  • Rachel G. Riskind
    • 1
  • Karen M. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Charlotte J. Patterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUCLALos AngelesUSA

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