A Framework For the Formation of Gay Male Identity: Processes Associated with Adult Attachment Style and Support From Family and Friends

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We propose a novel conceptual framework for the study of gay male identity formation in relation to the person's self, family, and social relations. The three basic processes of gay male identity are defined—self-definition, self-acceptance, and disclosure—and theoretically linked to attachment style and social support. The results, based on an Israeli sample of gay men (n = 121), indicated that self-acceptance and friends' support predict secure attachment in close adult relationships, and that self-definition and support from family and friends predict disclosure. Supportive family attitudes toward same-sex orientation mediated the effect of general family support on disclosure. These results suggest that the independent assessment of identity processes provides a flexible alternative to stage models' assumption of a single linear developmental process, that the formation of gay identity is associated with inner models of adult relationships, and that support of family and friends have a different role in the coming out process and in the formation of one's adult attachment model.

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