Parenting Desire and Minority Stress in Lesbians and Gay Men: A Mediation Framework

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct 22;15(10):2318. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15102318.


Despite the rapid increase in lesbian and gay (LG) people who desire and decide to become parents, LG childless individuals may encounter serious obstacles in the parenthood process, such as minority stress. Notwithstanding, the psychological processes by which prejudice events might affect the desire to become parents are still understudied. As an extension of the minority stress theory, the psychological mediation framework sheds light on these psychological processes, as it encompasses a more clinical view of stress. Within this framework, the current study aimed at assessing the role of prejudice events in affecting parenting desire in 290 childless Italian LG individuals (120 lesbians and 170 gay men), as well as the role of internalized heterosexism and sexual orientation concealment in mediating the relationship between prejudice events and parenting desire. The results suggest that only in lesbians prejudice events were negatively associated with parenting desire, and that sexual orientation concealment and internalized heterosexism were also negatively associated with parenting desire. Furthermore, sexual orientation concealment, and not internalized heterosexism, mediated the relationship between prejudice events and parenting desire in lesbians, but not gay men. The findings have important implications for clinical practice.

Keywords: gay; lesbian; mediation; minority stress; parenting desire.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Prejudice
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*
  • Sociological Factors
  • Stress, Psychological