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Perceived parental reactions to coming out, attachment, and romantic relationship views

By Katherine B. Carnelley, Erica G. Hepper, Colin Hicks and William Turner


Coming out as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) to one’s parents can be a challenging experience and may lead to acceptance or rejection. Attachment theory can help predict parents’ reactions to coming out and consequences for romantic attachment. In a cross-sectional study of 309 LGB individuals, we found that those who perceived their mother as accepting in childhood were more likely to have come out to her. Moreover, parents perceived as accepting and independence-encouraging in childhood were reported to react more positively to their child’s sexual orientation. Mothers’ positive reactions were associated with lower romantic attachment anxiety for men. The links between parent-child relationship quality and optimism and trust in romantic relationships were mediated by romantic attachment patterns. Findings support the contention that LGB pair bonds are attachment relationships, and underline the importance of prior parent-child relationships for predicting LGB individuals’ experience of coming out and romantic relationship

Topics: BF
Year: 2011
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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