Do parental acceptance and family support moderate associations between dimensions of minority stress and depressive symptoms among lesbians and gay men?

Brian A. Feinstein*, Lauren P. Wadsworth, Joanne Davila, Marvin R. Goldfried

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the extent to which parental acceptance of one's sexual orientation and more general family support moderated the associations between 3 dimensions of minority stress (internalized homonegativity, rejection sensitivity, and discrimination) and depressive symptoms in a sample of 414 self-identified lesbians and gay men who participated in an online survey. Results indicated that internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity were positively associated with depressive symptoms for those reporting less accepting parental attitudes, but they were not associated for those reporting more accepting parental attitudes. In contrast, parental acceptance did not moderate the association between discrimination and depressive symptoms, and general family support did not moderate any associations. Findings suggest that more accepting parental attitudes toward one's sexual orientation may protect individuals from distress in the face of their own negative thoughts and feelings related to their sexual orientation, but not overt discrimination. Further, parents' attitudes toward their child's sexual orientation may be more important than the extent to which they provide more general support. Interventions for parents struggling with their child's sexual orientation are encouraged to focus on the importance of parents expressing acceptance and support, which may directly impact well-being and act as a buffer in the face of minority stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-246
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Family support
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Minority stress
  • Parental acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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