Parental influences on the self-esteem of gay and lesbian youths: a reflected appraisals model

J Homosex. 1989;17(1-2):93-109. doi: 10.1300/J082v17n01_04.


Based on a population of 317 gay and lesbian youths, the current investigation explores the appropriateness of a reflected appraisals perspective in predicting the degree to which parental attitudes, as perceived by youth, affects their self-esteem and comfortableness being gay. A lesbian was most comfortable with her sexual orientation if she also reported that her parents accepted her homosexuality; these variables did not, however, predict her level of self-esteem. Among the gay males, parental acceptance predicted comfortable being gay if the parents were also perceived as important components of a youth's self-worth; a male most comfortable with his sexual orientation had the highest level of self-esteem. Results are discussed in terms of: (a) sex of parent, (b) sex-role development, (c) comparisons of gays and lesbians, and (d) research on gay and lesbian youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Personality Development
  • Personality Tests
  • Psychosexual Development*
  • Self Concept*