Identity Profiles in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth: The Role of Family Influences
Sexual identity development is a central task of adolescence and young adulthood and can be especially challenging for sexual minority youth. Recent research has moved from a stage model of identity development in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth to examining identity in a non-linear, multidimensional manner. In addition, although families have been identified as important to youth’s identity development, limited research has examined the influence of parental responses to youth’s disclosure of their LGB sexual orientation on LGB identity. The current study examined a multidimensional model of LGB identity and its links with parental support and rejection. One hundred and sixty-nine LGB adolescents and young adults (ages 14–24, 56 % male, 48 % gay, 31 % lesbian, 21 % bisexual) described themselves on dimensions of LGB identity and reported on parental rejection, sexuality-specific social support, and non-sexuality-specific social support. Using latent profile analysis (LPA), two profiles were identified, indicating that youth experience both affirmed and struggling identities. Results indicated that parental rejection and sexuality-specific social support from families were salient links to LGB identity profile classification, while non-sexuality specific social support was unrelated. Parental rejection and sexuality-specific social support may be important to target in interventions for families to foster affirmed LGB identity development in youth.
KeywordsGay Lesbian Bisexual Sexual minority Parental rejection Social support
This research was supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD055372-01A2) awarded to Neena M. Malik. We thank all of the families who so graciously gave of their time to participate in the research project.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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