Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 117–128 | Cite as

Gender Nonconformity, Childhood Rejection, and Adult Attachment: A Study of Gay Men

  • Monica A. Landolt
  • Kim BartholomewEmail author
  • Colleen Saffrey
  • Doug Oram
  • Daniel Perlman


Several childhood factors are reported to be associated with a homosexual orientation in men, including gender nonconformity and rejection by parents and peers. The purpose of this study was to explore the associations between these childhood factors and attachment anxiety (the tendency to experience anxiety regarding potential loss and rejection in close relationships) and attachment avoidance (the tendency to avoid versus seek out closeness in relationships) in gay and bisexual men. A community sample of 191 gay and bisexual men completed questionnaires and an attachment interview. Gender nonconformity was significantly associated with paternal, maternal, and peer rejection in childhood. In addition, paternal and peer rejection, but not maternal rejection, independently predicted attachment anxiety. Peer rejection and, to a lesser extent, paternal rejection mediated the association between gender nonconformity and attachment anxiety. Finally, peer rejection mediated the association between paternal rejection and attachment avoidance. Findings highlight the role of gender nonconformity in contributing to childhood rejection and the importance of peer relationships in the socialization of gay men.

gender nonconformity parent–child relations attachment gay male sexual orientation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica A. Landolt
    • 1
  • Kim Bartholomew
    • 2
    Email author
  • Colleen Saffrey
    • 2
  • Doug Oram
    • 2
  • Daniel Perlman
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Community Child Health ResearchChildren's and Women's Health Centre of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.School of Social Work and Family StudiesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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