Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1675–1677 | Cite as

Genetic Confounds in the Study of Sexual Orientation: Comment on Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2014)

  • Drew H. Bailey
  • Jarrod M. Ellingson
  • J. Michael BaileyEmail author
Invited Commentary

Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2013) presented evidence that childhood maltreatment is related to adult homosexuality, using an instrumental variables regression analysis. Briefly, several instrumental variables—presence of a stepparent, poverty, parental alcohol abuse, and parental mental illness—were related to adult homosexuality, but these relations were statistically mediated by childhood maltreatment. Roberts et al. concluded that childhood maltreatment causes adult homosexuality.

We criticized the statistical approach of Roberts et al. (2013), arguing that the assumptions of both instrumental variables regression and mediation analysis were almost certainly violated (Bailey & Bailey, 2013). The instruments—stepparent presence, poverty, parental alcohol abuse, and parental mental illness—are complex in their causes and effects, and might be correlated with adult sexual orientation, through a multitude of complex pathways that do not require adult sexual orientation to be caused...


Sexual Orientation Personality Trait Childhood Maltreatment Genetic Correlation Moderate Heritability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Brendan Zietsch for verifying our calculations and for his comments on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drew H. Bailey
    • 1
  • Jarrod M. Ellingson
    • 2
  • J. Michael Bailey
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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