Examining Ethnic Differences in Parental Rejection of LGB Youth Sexual Identity

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Abstract

Upward of 70% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experience some degree of parental rejection of their sexual identity, which is problematic in light of research documenting links between parental rejection and psychological difficulties in LGB youth. Additionally, emerging research suggests that ethnic minority LGB youth may be at greater risk to experience parental rejection than ethnic majority LGB youth. However, this research is inconclusive and has significant gaps. The current study is one of the first to include a multiethnic sample of LGB youth and their parents to investigate how ethnicity may be related to parental rejection. Specifically, the current study examined ethnic differences in parental rejection as well as in intrapersonal variables (i.e., homonegativity and traditional gender role beliefs), which are thought to be related both to ethnicity and parental rejection. Additionally, indirect effects of ethnicity on parental rejection through homonegativity and traditional gender role beliefs were examined. Participants included 90 parents (ages 32–63) and their 90 LGB children (ages 15–24). Fifty-nine percent of the sample were ethnic minority. Significant ethnic differences were found in parental rejection and homonegativity, but not in traditional gender role beliefs. Homonegativity was found to fully mediate the relation between ethnicity and parental rejection. These results provide important information on why ethnic minority parents, in general, may have a more difficult time accepting their LGB children than ethnic majority parents.

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