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Worsening Perceptions of Family Connectedness and Parent Support for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents

Abstract

Objectives

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents often report compromised relations with their families. Given the recent changes in societal attitudes toward LGB individuals, in respect to rights for marriage and other legal statuses, we explore whether or not there has been a change in how LGB and heterosexual adolescents perceive their family relations over time.

Methods

Using the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey from British Columbia, Canada (N = 99,373; Mage = 14.8), we investigated the trends and disparities in family connectedness and mother/father support in four data sets from 1998 to 2013.

Results

We found that while levels of perceived family connectedness and parent support have increased for heterosexual adolescents since 1998, the same increases were not found for LGB adolescents. Among LGB participants, levels of perceived connectedness/support generally decreased in each survey wave, especially among females. Alarmingly, significant disparities in these perceptions remained for LGB youth over time.

Conclusions

Our findings have implications for supportive interventions focused on LGB adolescents and their families and in particular, the role of father support.

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Acknowlegements

The authors acknowledge the McCreary Centre Society for permission to access the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey. We also acknowledge Mauricio Coronel for statistical assistance.

Author Contributions

R.W. ran the data analyses and wrote the paper. H.R. collaborated with the conceptualization of the study and wrote part of the paper. M.D. and J.A. helped to analyze the data and contributed to writing portions of the manuscript. E.S. conceptualized the study, collected data, helped to interpret models, and contributing to writing and revising the manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by grants #CPP 86374 and #MOP 119472 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Watson acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse grant K01DA047918.

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Correspondence to Ryan J. Watson.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Watson, R.J., Rose, H.A., Doull, M. et al. Worsening Perceptions of Family Connectedness and Parent Support for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents. J Child Fam Stud 28, 3121–3131 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-019-01489-3

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Keywords

  • Family connectedness
  • LGB
  • Mothers
  • Fathers
  • Sexual minorities