A test of the maternal stress theory of human male homosexuality

Michael Bailey*, Lee Willerman, Carlton Parks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both the neurohormonal theory of sexual orientation and previous research on humans and animals suggest that male homosexuality may arise from prenatal stress during the brain's sexual differentiation. Stress-proneness and retrospective reports of stress during pregnancy were obtained from mothers of male and female heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals. Each mother also rated pregnancy stress for a heterosexual sibling of the subject. For males, neither between-family nor within-family analyses revealed a maternal stress effect for either sexual orientation or childhood gender nonconformity. However, mothers of effeminate children reported more stress-proneness than other mothers. Male homosexuality nevertheless was strongly familial, suggesting a reconsideration of genetic and familial environmental mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-293
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1991

Keywords

  • etiology
  • familiality
  • homosexuality
  • maternal stress
  • sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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