Effects of Family Demographics and the Passage of Time on Parents’ Difficulty with Their Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual Youth’s Sexual Orientation

Abstract

Parents’ responses to a child’s sexual orientation are critical to shaping lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents’ health, but we know little about which families struggle most with having an LGB child. This study explored how parent responses to their LGB child varied by parent characteristics, child characteristics, and time passing. Parents of LGB youth aged 10–25 years (n = 1195) completed questions about themselves, their children, and their difficulty with having an LGB child. Parents with older children and African American and Latino parents reported the most difficulty. Parents who had known about a child’s sexual orientation for more time reported less difficulty. However, these decreases in difficulty were only observed after 2 years, and parents reporting they had known for between 2 months and 2 years all reported similarly high levels of difficulty. Findings point to families most in need of intervention to improve parent responses and reduce adolescent risk.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by Grant MH072381 from the National Institute for Mental Health. The authors wish to acknowledge Brian Thoma for his assistance in online data collection efforts.

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Correspondence to David M. Huebner.

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Huebner, D.M., Roche, K.M. & Rith, K.A. Effects of Family Demographics and the Passage of Time on Parents’ Difficulty with Their Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual Youth’s Sexual Orientation. Arch Sex Behav 48, 1581–1588 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1430-9

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Keywords

  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth
  • Parenting
  • Family reactions
  • Family support
  • Sexual orientation