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08-09-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2016

Coming-Out to Family Members and Internalized Sexual Stigma in Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay People

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2016
Auteurs:
Jessica Pistella, Marco Salvati, Salvatore Ioverno, Fiorenzo Laghi, Roberto Baiocco

Abstract

Coming out has been described as an essential component in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity development process and in the mental health of sexual minority people. This study investigated the coming out to family members in lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and analyzed the potential predictors associated to the choice to come out. For this purpose, disclosure of sexual orientation to family members, internalized sexual stigma (evaluated through an adapted short version of the internalized sexual stigma for lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people, measure of the internalized sexual stigma for lesbians, gay, and bisexual), gender, age, sexual orientation, background information, current romantic relationship and the wealth of social network with sexual minority people were assessed on an Italian sample of 291 adolescents and young adults (206 lesbian/gay men and 85 bisexual people). Hierarchical multiple regression showed that higher scores of coming out to family were associated with gay/lesbian identity, liberal political orientation, higher education level, presence of a stable romantic relationship, higher number of lesbian, gay, and bisexual contacts, and lower levels of internalized sexual stigma. Results suggest that bisexual people encounter major difficulties regarding the coming out to family members, respect to lesbian/gay people and indicate that internalized sexual stigma is strongly associated with concealing one’s sexual orientation. Clinical implications for the present findings are discussed.

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