Genetic Confounds in the Study of Sexual Orientation: Comment on Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2014)
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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...
KeywordsSexual Orientation Personality Trait Childhood Maltreatment Genetic Correlation Moderate Heritability
We thank Brendan Zietsch for verifying our calculations and for his comments on an earlier draft.
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