Infectious Disease

Lesbian, gay children have better results when parents have a consistent view of their sexuality

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Lesbian and gay children whose parents had a consistent perspective on the child’s sexual orientation, even when that perspective was negative, had better outcomes than those whose parents had changing perspectives.

Matthew Verdun, MS, A licensed marriage and family therapist in California and a graduate student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology campus in Los Angeles presented these results at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

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“The time a person reveals their sexual orientation is probably one of the most anxious times in their life and also where their well-being is lowest,” Verdun said during a press conference. “I wanted to know what would happen if a parent supported or disapproved at that moment, but also what would happen over time.”

Matthew Verdun

Previous studies have shown a negative association between current levels of parental support and mental health or substance use disorder, according to Verdun. In the current quantitative research study, Verdun set out to investigate whether parenting support over time influenced depression, anxiety, or substance abuse in 177 adult cisgender lesbians (n ​​= 77) and gays (n = 100) who were recruited through social media. Participants completed demographic surveys, questions about parents ‘initial and current levels of support for participants’ sexual orientation, a patient health questionnaire-9, a generalized anxiety disorder-7, and a drug use questionnaire-20.

Participant groups consisted of positive, negative to positive, and negative throughout, according to their responses to initial and current levels of parental support, with a fourth parental support group (negative to positive) excluded because it was too small to analyze. Verdun analyzed the results of each group using analysis of variance (ANOVA).

The results showed that the difference between this group and the consistently negative group was insignificant, although symptom scores were lowest in the consistently positive group. Verdun noted significant results for consistently positive and consistently negative groups compared to the negative to positive group. Overall, the consistency of parental attitudes seemed to be just as important as the positive attitude towards the child’s sexual orientation.

“Depression and anxiety were significant when people had consistent parenting,” Verdun said. “In the future, I would like to investigate what the people whose parents rejected have done to support and buffer their mental symptoms.”

Reference:

Verdun M. Poster 5426. Presented at: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 1st to 3rd, 2021 (virtual meeting).

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American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

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